Durbin, Duckworth, Quigley Announce Amtrak's Federal Grant Application for Chicago Hub Improvement Project to Modernize Union Station

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) today announced Amtrak’s $873 million federal grant application, with $218 million in matching funds from project sponsors, for the Chicago Hub Improvement Project (CHIP) to modernize Chicago Union Station.  The application was submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal-State Partnerships for Intercity Passenger Rail grant program, which received funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

CHIP is Amtrak’s project to revitalize Chicago Union Station and revolutionize Midwest passenger rail. It would improve on-time performance, increase capacity, improve platforms, renovate the concourse, and make possible a one-seat ride from O’Hare Airport to McCormick Place.  In the past 15 years, the number of trains on Illinois tracks have doubled, and CHIP presents the opportunity 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.

“Chicago has long been the heart of America’s rail network, propelling commerce, industry, and innovation across the nation. To maintain this leadership position and accommodate the ever-evolving demands of the 21st century, we must evolve with the times. The Chicago Hub Improvement Project is not just about upgrading rail lines and modernizing stations; it’s about charting a course for a more dynamic, sustainable, and resilient Illinois. It’s about investing in our people, our economy, and the generations yet unborn,” said Durbin. “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 a competitive application for the federal funding.”

“Chicago is a national epicenter of passenger, commuter and freight rail, but with that comes congestion, bottlenecks and delays,” Duckworth said. “The Chicago Hub Improvement Program would not only improve rail service and reliability forfolks in Chicago and throughout Illinois, it will mean fewer delays and safer service for the more than 30 million riders across all rail services who pass through Union Station each year. Furthermore, the project will also benefit passenger service in states all throughout the Midwest. I’ll keep working with my colleagues at the federal level to ensure this critical funding comes to CHIP because we know that this project isn’t just a win for Illinois – it’s a win for our entire country.”

“When Congress voted to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create a generational investment in our nation’s infrastructure, it was projects like the Chicago Hub Improvement Program that we had in mind,” said Quigley.“The CHIP program provides critical investment to Chicago’s Union Station and rail infrastructure, ensuring our city and the Midwest remains at the center of the U.S. passenger and freight rail network. I will continue to push for full funding of the CHIP program so the vital improvements the program provides can become a reality.”

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, as well as strong matching funds to make the application as competitive as possible.

Many long-planned projects to improve and extend rail lines across other Midwest states depend on CHIP’s improvements to the Chicago area, including projects within the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and the FRA’s Midwest Regional Rail Plan.