Durbin Discusses Improving Infrastructure With Illinois Transportation Secretary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Omer Osman to discuss improving infrastructure in the state.  During their meeting, Durbin and Secretary Osman spoke about the Chicago Hub Improvement Program (CHIP), Amtrak’s portfolio of projects to improve Midwest rail via Chicago Union Station (CUS), for which Durbin has repeatedly urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to consider for federal grants.  The two leaders also discussed the Chicago to Quad Cities Passenger Rail Project, which recently received $500,000 from USDOT’s Corridor Identification and Development Program, and the I-290/Blue Line Modernization Project to reconstruct 13 miles of I-290 and the Chicago Transit Authority’s Forest Park Branch.

“Illinoisans have always relied on rail infrastructure to traverse the state, whether that’s to commute from the suburbs into the city forwork or to get from Chicago to Carbondale.  It is essential that we continue to invest in our state’s railways,” said Durbin.  “Today, I sat down with Illinois Transportation Secretary Osman to discuss how the federal government can best support our state’s infrastructure projects.”

In December, USDOT awarded $93.6 million in federal funding to CHIP to renovate and expand the station platforms, improve accessibility and ventilation systems, and reactivate the Station’s mail platform, which has been out of use since 2005, for passenger service.

Durbin secured $177 million in federal funding for the Chicago to Quad Cities rail project in 2010.  The project was delayed for years because former Governor Rauner refused to provide state funding for it.  Governor Pritzker renewed the state’s commitment to the project by providing $225 million in state funding in 2019, but since then IDOT and the Iowa Interstate Railroad have been unable to reach an agreement on the infrastructure upgrades needed for the project.  Durbin has repeatedly secured extensions of the federal funding, most recently in 2019 to extend them through 2024.

A photo of the meeting is available here.