January 10th, 2010

CREATE Receives $133 million for 63rd and State Flyover

The CREATE Partners announced today that the CREATE Program will receive $133 million as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for a critical rail/rail flyover near 63rd and State Streets in the Englewood community on the south side of Chicago.   The flyover will carry the north-south Metra Rock Island commuter rail line over the east-west Norfolk Southern/Amtrak line, eliminating conflict between 78 Metra Rock Island trains and approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains that presently cross at grade each day.

The $133 million CREATE-related grant was part of a larger $1.2 billion federal award to bring high-speed passenger rail service to Illinois by 2014. Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin were joined today by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley as they kicked off a series of announcements at Chicago's Union Station in Chicago today to discuss details about Illinois' grant award.

"Illinois was one of only three states in the country to receive over $1 billion for high speed rail. We appreciate the confidence of President Obama to bring high-speed rail to Illinois," said Governor Quinn. "Thanks to hard work and perseverance, our vision to have Illinois serve as the nation's high speed rail hub is becoming a reality, bringing jobs and economic growth to our communities."

The Obama Administration announced the competitive awards Thursday as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program. The investment from the federal government is expected to create approximately 6,000 jobs in Illinois. Illinois received the third largest award among 31 states chosen to share in the $8 billion made available nationwide for high-speed passenger rail. Thirty-seven states applied for funding.

"Investing $1.2 billion into improving our rail system is going to mean more jobs - jobs for today and jobs for the future," said Senator Durbin. "Today's announcement assures that Chicago, already a major rail hub of the nation, will soon become the major high-speed rail hub of the Midwest and nation.

"Chicago is the hub of the Midwest regional rail network, and these high speed rail investments are critical to securing the jobs and economic growth that comes from being a center for both passenger and freight rail commerce," said  Mayor Daley.

Illinois' high-speed rail signature route, Chicago to St. Louis, will receive $1.1 billion for corridor improvements. Improvements to this 284 mile route will allow passenger rail service to operate at speeds up to 110 mph, reducing the total trip time from Chicago to St. Louis by over an hour. The improvements include an overhaul of track, signal systems and existing stations as well as the implementation of state-of-the-art train control technology that will improve train safety. In addition, Illinois will receive $1.25 million to complete an environmental impact study for a second track along the same route.

"This is great news for Illinois and the Midwest," said Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. "I commend President Obama, Governor Quinn, Senator Durbin and the entire Midwest region for their leadership and commitment through a long and competitive process. I also want to express my gratitude to the staff at the Illinois Department of Transportation who have remained focused and dedicated on efforts to make high-speed passenger rail a reality in Illinois."

Thanks to multi-state steering group formed by Governor Quinn, Illinois will benefit from awards to several other neighboring states that make up the Chicago Hub Network. The region received a total of $2.6 billion - more than any other regional network. The network is designed to connect cities throughout the region to Chicago with reliable high-speed and conventional intercity rail service.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) received 259 grant applications from 37 states and the District of Columbia requesting nearly $57 billion in funding - far exceeding the initial $8 billion available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In total, 79 applications from 31 States were selected for funding.

For more information on the CREATE Program, go to www.createprogram.org.

Governor Quinn announces high speed rail funding in Illinois.  Left to right:  Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Amtrak Chairman Tom Carper, U.S. Representative Danny Davis, Governor Pat Quinn, Doug Whitley, Illinois Representative Julie Hamos, U.S. Representative Debbie Halvorson.

Photo Credit:  CREATE Program