June 13, 2018

Federal funding to relieve Chicago bottleneck

Written by  William Vantuono, editor-in-chief, Railway Age
  • Print
  • Email

THE United States Department for Transport has allocated a $US 132m grant through its Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (Infra) programme to help fund the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP), which will eliminate Belt Junction, one of the most congested rail bottlenecks in the Chicago region.

The 75th Street CIP is part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (Create) project and involves the grade separation of freight and passenger lines in Chicago’s Englewood, Auburn Gresham and West Chatham districts.

Belt Junction hosts 32 Metra and Amtrak passenger trains and 98 CSX, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific and Belt Railway of Chicago freight trains per day.

Grade separation will eliminate 18,500 passenger hours of delay a year while increasing capacity at Chicago Union Station, reducing train idling, and improving air quality.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) submitted the Infra grant application on behalf of the Create Partners. The allocation of federal funds leverages $US 111m from IDOT, $US 116m from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), $US 78m from Cook County, $US 23m from Metra, $US 9m from the City of Chicago and $US 5m from Amtrak for a total investment of $US 474m, which will complete the first half of the overall 75th Street CIP.

To date, 29 out of 70 Create projects have been completed, with five more projects under construction and 17 in various stages of design.

Get the latest rail news

IRJ Rail Brief newsletter covers global railway news