Re-elect Dan Lipinski Congressman

Congestion Relief Could Result from Metra Service Expansion: Lipinski

The Des Plaines Valley News

April 14, 2011

By James Pluta

One of two local train stops on the Metra Heritage Corridor line where station improvements have long been sought by local commuters and community leaders served as the backdrop April 4 for an announcement that state funding has been received to study whether more daily passenger trains can be added to the line.

The funding, requested of the Illinois Department of Transportation by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd District of Western Springs and the Regional Transportation Agency, was granted and will be performed by IDOT.

At the press conference outside the partially enclosed glass and steel depot that serves as the Village’s station for the three weekday roundtrip stops between Joliet and Chicago’s Union Station, Lipinski and a bevy of area municipal leaders lauded the funding approval.

The so-called capacity study will be conducted “so we can determine what needs to be done to allow Metra to add trains to the line” used for Metra, Amtrak and freight railway service, stated Lipinski.

The congressman outlined the “tremendous demand along the line for more service” and shows efforts he supports to expand Metra and high-speed Amtrak service “has real momentum.”

Calling IDOT’s agreement to fund the study “a big step in the right direction,” Lipinski further stated the study results will help determine infrastructure improvements needed for more reliable, frequent and faster intercity and commuter service.

Willow Springs Mayor Alan Nowaczyk, whose prior administration originally had plans to develop a modern train station and community meeting place in conjunction with the new Village Hall, also lauded the funding.

The mayor, surrounded by leaders from Summit and other country and community leaders from further down the line, spoke about how the area is rapidly growing and that expanding service was “sorely needed.”

Summit Building and Public Works director William Mundy, whose village has a train depot on the same line, appeared as a representative to an absent Mayor Joseph Strzelczyk.

Lipinski, who has already made strides by expanding capacity on the Heritage Corridor by paving the way for additional trains since taking office in 2007 said this was “only the first step” toward reducing road congestion in the region.

He said “the lack of trains on the Heritage Corridor means there’s a major gap in public transportation in the area between Metra’s Southwest Service and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

Lipinski added he knows such improvements will be widely welcomed in such local communities as Bedford Park and Justice as well by providing “a significant boost” to local economies.

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