The Search For a Way to Unsnarl Union Station Begins
Crain's Chicago Businesss
Can the transportation mess known as Union Station finally be unsnarled?
A caucus room full of public officials today announced a combined $7 million in grants for a study on how to do that, and Chicago commuters likely will be grateful even if an actual solution is many years and hundreds of millions of dollars away.
The money—$3 million from the federal government, $2 million from the state and $1 million each from Metra and the city in the form of a tax-increment financing grant—will go toward a terminal planning study and a related service development.
The goal of both is the same: to figure out how to expand capacity while redesigning the station to ease passenger flow.
"Union Station serves as the gateway to Chicago for thousands of commuters and visitors every day," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said. "Yet most are met with congestion on the rails and within the station. With this infusion . . . we'll be easing rail congestion outside the station and laying the groundwork for a vast improvement of the passenger experience inside."
The station is the third-busiest in the country, serving 300 trains and roughly 125,000 passengers a day on Metra and Amtrak. The latter earlier in the year earmarked $12 million for renovations, but ultimately officials are eyeing a total rebuild that will cost an estimated $500 million, and I'd bet that's low.
Said Lipinski, "This is great news for the area, especially passengers riding the BNSF, Heritage Corridor, Southwest Service and Rock Island Metra lines in my district."
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