Durbin, Duckworth, Quigley Announce $93.6 Million to Modernize Chicago's Union Station

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) today announced $93,600,000 for the Chicago Hub Improvement Project (CHIP) through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal-State Partnerships forIntercity Passenger Rail grant program, which received funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. CHIP is Amtrak’s multi-phased project to revitalize Chicago Union Station (CUS) and revolutionize Midwest passenger rail. 

The grants announced today will fund several components of the project to modernize CUS.  This includes renovating and expanding the station platforms, adding an ingress/egress to improve passenger capacity, bringing platforms in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and improving ventilation systems and air quality for nearly 120,000 Amtrak and Metra weekly passengers.  The grants also will repurpose the Station’s mail platform, which has been out of use since 2005, for intercity rail service, enabling CUS to accommodate passenger growth and support long-term rail service expansion across the Midwest. 

In the past 15 years, the number of trains on Illinois tracks have doubled, and CHIP represents a coordinated effort across federal, state, and local stakeholders to catch up with that growth by investing in Chicago’s capacity and reliability as the North American rail hub.  Chicago has more trackage radiating in more directions than any other city in North America, and the City is at the center of Amtrak’s Midwestern expansion plan to connect dozens of cities in 160 communities with Amtrak service.  Many long-planned projects to improve and extend rail lines across other Midwest states would benefit from CHIP’s improvements to the Chicago area, including projects within the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and the FRA’s Midwest Regional Rail Plan.

“Chicago, often referred to as the crossroads of America, holds a unique position in the converging point for railroads that cross our nation,” said Durbin. “This significant federal investment is a strategic move to ensure our city remains not just a crossroads, but a thriving nexus that efficiently connects people, goods, and ideas. It’s an acknowledgement that Union Station must adapt and innovate to cater to the evolving needs of our residents and the broader American landscape. I’m proud to have helped bring local officials, the State, Amtrak, and other stakeholders together to ensure there was a unified push for this project, and look forward to keeping the heart of America’s rail network beating strong into the future.”

“Chicago is a national epicenter of passenger, commuter and freight rail, but with that comes congestion, bottlenecks and delays,” Duckworth said. “Improvements to Chicago’s Union Station are critically important for improving rail service and reliability for folks in Chicago and throughout Illinois, but also for preventing delays and increasing safety for the more than 30 million riders across all the rail services that pass through Union Station each year. This announcement is a great start in working toward these improvements, but I’ll keep working to ensure we bring more funding into the Chicago Hub Improvement Program because this critical project isn’t just beneficial for Chicago and Illinois, it’s also a win for the Midwest and a win for our entire country.”

“Chicago’s Union Station is the centerpiece of passenger rail service in the Midwest, connecting people and places throughout our region,” said Quigley. “The project funding announced today under the Chicago Hub Improvement Program takes a major step in modernizing Union Station for a safer and more efficient future of passenger rail travel. As Ranking Member of the subcommittee that funds our nation’s railways, I’ll continue to work with my colleagues at the federal, state, and local levels to make Chicago’s rail service the envy of the nation.”

Durbin worked to bring parties together—local officials, the State, Amtrak, and other stakeholders including labor, environmental groups, and businesses—to ensure there was a unified push for the project.  In September, Durbin, Duckworth, and Quigley led 29 Midwest colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose expressing their support for Amtrak’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program application for CHIP. 

Today’s grants represent the first step in securing long-overdue funding for CUS, and Durbin plans to meet with Secretary Buttigieg to discuss additional funding opportunities.  Durbin, Duckworth, and Quigley will continue working with Amtrak and its partners to build upon this significant federal investment by seizing historic funding opportunities under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  Together, they will lead stakeholders in advocating to advance further components of this project and its critical importance to both Illinois and the Midwest.