Durbin, Duckworth, Quigley Discuss Chicago Hub Improvement Project with Canadian National

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), along with U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) who joined by phone, today met with Canadian National (CN) CEO Tracy Robinson to discuss the railroad’s involvement in the Chicago Hub Improvement Project (CHIP), Amtrak’s multi-phased project to revitalize Chicago Union Station (CUS) and revolutionize Midwest passenger rail.  Critical to the region’s infrastructure, CHIP will improve connectivity and spur economic growth.  Involvement and support from the freight railroads will be important to completing CHIP.  CN has been closely engaged with the project, and Robinson expressed her willingness to help advance the project.

“Rail has always been a vital component of our state’s infrastructure.  As we move forward with the Chicago Hub Improvement Project, we want all stakeholders, including CN, to share the same vision of modernizing Midwest rail for the future, through improvements to Chicago Union Station and its connectivity,” said Durbin.  “Today, I hosted a productive meeting with Senator Duckworth and Congressman Quigley, and CN CEO Tracy Robinson to discuss how CN can contribute to the project’s success.”

“Chicago is a national epicenter of passenger, commuter and freight rail,” Duckworth said. “To move forward with the improvements needed at Chicago’s Union Station that will improve rail service and reliability across the Midwest, it’s critical for all parties to work together.  Senator Durbin, Congressman Quigley and I had a productive conversation today with CN CEO Tracy Robinson today to discuss the importance of the Chicago Hub Improvement Project.  I’ll keep pushing for more funding and to move this forward, 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.”

“Modernizing Union Station and its surrounding track infrastructure will ensure Chicago remains the primary passenger and freight rail hub of the United States.  Today’s meeting with Canadian National was a productive step towards that goal.  As Ranking Member of the subcommittee that funds our nation’s railways, I look forward to continuing to work with the rail industry, labor, and federal, state and local officials to see the Chicago Hub Improvement Program receives full support,” said Quigley.

A photo of the meeting is available here.

In December, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $93.6 million in federal funding for CHIP through the Federal-State Partnerships for Intercity Passenger Rail grant program.  The grants 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.