USD 101 million for Chicago Hub improvement programme

Chicago Hub improvement programmeAmtrak and its Midwest partners have been awarded more than USD 101 million to improve existing routes and advance plans to expand Amtrak service as part of Chicago Hub improvement programme (CHIP).

“At Amtrak, we are working with our partners to maximise Chicago’s role as the central hub of Amtrak’s National Network and position intercity passenger rail as an engine for improved mobility and economic growth. These grant awards propel us on that mission,” Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia said.

Multiple grants announced on December 8, will go directly to Amtrak and others will support existing and potential partners, under the USDOT’s Federal State Partnership (Fed-State) and Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) programmes.

Chicago Hub improvement programme “will help transform intercity passenger rail in the region by expanding capacity, increasing reliability, and creating better access to our trains. We and our partners thank Administrator Bose and Secretary Buttigieg for their support and look forward to more investment in the future for this top-priority program for the nation,” Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said.

The Fed-State programme provides funding for capital projects across the National Network that reduce the state of good repair backlog, improve performance, or expand or establish new intercity passenger rail service. Amtrak received two grants for Chicago Union Station totalling up to USD 93.6 million.

These Fed-State grants will help improve the customer experience in Chicago for Amtrak and Metra commuter rail customers, a key CHIP goal, by funding renovation and expansion of the station platforms, improving passenger access and capacity, bringing the platforms into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and improving ventilation systems and air quality. This work also includes repurposing platforms designed for mail handling that have been unused since 2005, enabling their use for passengers and supporting long-term rail service expansion across the Midwest.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) awarded up to USD 500,000 in grant funding to all four Corridor ID applications Amtrak submitted, including one to study an increase in Cardinal train service to daily between Chicago and New York City. This route currently operates three-days-weekly via Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

Corridor ID funding could support development of a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing, completing, or documenting related service development plans.

“Of the 69 corridors selected for the inaugural round of the Corridor ID program, at least 16 could result in new and enhanced service to and from Chicago,” Amtrak VP Jeannie Kwon, who is leading CHIP said.

Share on: