Chicago, Illinois: Push for CREATE big-ticket grade-separations

19 Jun

Dan Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat Representative told the June 10th, 2013 House Rail Sub-committee
meeting, specially convened to consider issues in North-Eastern Illinois that the Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) initiative is a model for an on-going public-private partnership. However, he said that there needed to be a greater focus on pushing ahead big-ticket grade-separation schemes.

Tackling congestion that arises at level crossings is a priority for which funding, under the CREATE umbrella, needs to be secured was a key message. The schemes so far completed within the scope of CREATE have mostly been smaller in nature rather than the more difficult and expensive grade-separations that will deliver the greatest benefit to the community.

Of the 25 grade-separation projects identified as lying within the scope of CREATE three are complete, four are in progress and there is not a funding package in place for 12. To make progress with those that are not funded, it is important that the wider regional and national benefits of less road and rail congestion is factored into the equation. This should bring with it federal funding to sit alongside the local public-private partnership funding model central to the CREATE programme.

CREATE is a package of 70 projects to improve the safety and efficiency of the Chicago-land rail system and reduce highway congestion caused by the presence of level crossings. In short, the objective can be seen as enhancing the quality of life for residents and promoting economic development.

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