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Amtrak has committed $12 million toward a $500 million, multiyear plan to overhaul Union Station in downtown Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced yesterday.Amtrak's investment will pay for improvements that will address critical capacity and service issues at Union Station, where about 120,000 passengers pass through daily. The work will include planning and design for a larger passenger concourse, making safety improvements, enhancing temperature controls and conducting necessary repairs to the station’s exterior facade, according to a press release.Emanuel said he would work with the federal government, state of Illinois, Metra and Amtrak to facilitate the station's overhaul."A modern transit system is essential to a thriving economy for Chicago," he said. "With this investment in the future of Union Station we will provide a more reliable link between downtown and our neighborhoods, connecting residents to work and keeping Chicago on the move."The development of the station for all users and for the neighborhood is a national Amtrak priority, said Ray Lang, president of the Amtrak-owned Chicago Union Station Co.
"Our 2015 spending plan … is evidence of our commitment," he said.
The station overhaul will be supported by projects underway to expand its role as a central and growing transit hub. Those projects include building the Union Station Transportation Center, a consolidated Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus terminal on city-owned land across the street that will anchor the new Central Loop Bus Rapid Transit Corridor. This corridor will connect Amtrak, Metra, the CTA Blue Line and many downtown destinations, and serve as a key link between commuter and intercity rail, city officials said.