Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski joined U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today to celebrate the upcoming construction of a new Metra station to serve the Auburn Gresham community.
“This expansion of public transit will mean greater accessibility and opportunity for a community that in recent history has seen disinvestment and exclusion from meaningful economic development,” Senator Collins said. “I hope this day marks the beginning of more growth for Auburn Gresham.”
“Access to public transportation is proven to improve the overall economic health and vitality of a community," Derwinski said. “We at Metra are pleased that this project is able to move forward and thank Senator Collins for her tireless advocacy for the Auburn Gresham community and bringing this project to fruition.”
“In a city like Chicago, public transportation is an artery that goes to the heart of economic opportunity. This is especially true for lower-income communities where it is often residents’ only option for commuting to work, traveling to the grocery store, or going to see a doctor,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush. “I am happy after a five-year long wait, funding has been secured for this significant capital project. I would also like to commend State Senator Collins’ unparalleled focus on this project, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with her and supporting her current efforts. I look forward to future opportunities to work with the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and Metra to ensure that all Chicagoans have equal access to reliable transportation.”
“Illinois is the transportation hub of North America and there are few places where that is more evident than Chicago and the Auburn Park community,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Under Gov. Pritzker’s leadership, the Illinois Department of Transportation is proud to partner with Metra on this project, which will strengthen an already vibrant area and help unlock even greater potential in a vital part of the state.”
A Metra station at Auburn Park has been planned for years. Metra had originally planned to fund the project with its share of proceeds from two state of Illinois bond programs from 2009. However, that funding was held up in the state’s budget woes and then cut in 2017. Funding for the stations was restored in recent state budgets, and the state has released $20 million for Auburn Park.
Metra contracted with T.Y. Lin International, Inc. to create the design for the station, which will be located just south of 79th Street on the Rock Island Line. The design currently stands at 60 percent complete and is expected to be finished by the end of 2019. Once the design is complete, Metra will go out for bid for a construction firm and expects to begin work on the new station in 2020.