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9/20/2006



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Government entities, railroads reach new three-year funding pact for Chicago's CREATE program



On Monday, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) announced public-private stakeholders in the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program reached a new three-year, $330 million funding agreement.

Under the pact, the federal government and state of Illinois each will provide $100 million; BNSF Railway Co., Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad and the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra) will contribute a combined $100 million; and the city of Chicago will provide $30 million. The public-private partners proposed CREATE in 2004.

Designed to eliminate bottlenecks, reduce highway congestion, and improve grade crossing safety and commuter-rail service, the $1.5 billion, six-year program calls for creating five rail corridors, including one primarily for passenger trains; grade separating 25 crossings; building six flyovers and removing a downtown rail corridor.

To date, engineering work on CREATE projects is about 30 percent complete, said Association of American Railroads CREATE Program Manager William Thompson Sept. 18 at the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association’s annual meeting in Louisville, Ky. During the next year, program organizers plan to complete all engineering and begin construction on several projects.


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