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Illinois Gov. Quinn signs bill to establish commuter-rail district


On Monday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that will create the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District as part of a plan to build a 33-mile Metra line connecting 20 communities to downtown Chicago.

The $778 million project will extend Metra service to one of the last metro regions without access to commuter rail, according to Quinn's office. The Southeast Service (SES) Line would run along existing freight- and passenger-rail lines in south Cook and Will counties

"The [SES] Line will provide access to an underserved area while creating jobs, sparking economic development and improving the quality of life in the southeast suburbs," said Quinn in a prepared statement.

The project was authorized in the 2005 federal transportation bill. Metra completed the last of in-depth studies of the line in 2010. A final proposal is expected to be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration later this year, according to Quinn’s office.

The commuter-rail district can apply for public and private funds, acquire property for stations, and enter into public-private partnerships to build and maintain the line and its facilities. A board comprising community representatives will oversee the district.

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More News from 3/9/2011