U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that Metra will receive $17,840,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for rail improvements. The funding will support the construction of a new grade-separated double-tracked rail bridge over Milwaukee Avenue immediately north of the Grayland Metra Station in Chicago.
“For many Illinoisans, Metra is the only affordable and accessible transportation option they have,” Durbin said. “The funding announced today will improve service for customers who depend on these trains running efficiently and safely. Senator Duckworth and I will continue to work with our colleagues in Congress to ensure we support Metra operations in Illinois.”
“Improving Chicagoland’s commuter rail system is vital to supporting our region’s economic growth,” Duckworth said. “This funding will go a long way toward making transportation systems safer and more reliable throughout the Chicagoland region.”
“We are extremely grateful that our elected officials have shown us once again that they understand the value of Metra by helping us obtain the funding needed to improve our system,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “This project is crucial for increasing reliability and performance for our customers along the Milwaukee District North Line.”
“Amtrak trains use this bridge up to 16 times daily on our Hiawatha Service and Empire Builder routes between Chicago and Milwaukee and the Pacific Northwest and we gladly supported Metra’s grant application,” said Ray Lang, Amtrak Senior Director, State and Local Government Affairs. “The Hiawathas are our busiest Amtrak Midwest route, with a record of more than 850,000 customers last year and on a pace to top that record this year, and this bridge is critical to their success and future growth.”
Today’s funding is awarded through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program, which helps fund capital projects to repair, replace or rehabilitate publicly owned railroad assets, as well as to improve intercity passenger-rail performance.