Lipinski Breaks Ground on New CREATE Program Project to Reduce Train Congestion and Improve Rail Crossing Wait Times

SUMMIT, IL – Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) last week participated in the groundbreaking of the Argo Connections Project, a new Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) project that will reduce train congestion and reduce rail crossing wait times for Heritage Corridor communities. He was joined at the groundbreaking by several CREATE Program partners, including Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Ian Jefferies and CSX General Manager - Midwest William Blanchetti.

"Since I was able to secure the initial $100 million grant to begin the work on CREATE in 2005, we have made significant progress towards completing this critical public-private partnership,” Lipinski said. “All levels of government have contributed to CREATE, with close to $700 million in federal funding that I have helped secure leading the way. The groundbreaking for this project marks another milestone for CREATE and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues as Chairman of the Rail Subcommittee this Congress to secure further funding for CREATE."

The Argo Connections project (B9) is scheduled to take two years to complete. Construction will begin in May 2019 and completion is anticipated for mid-2021.  This project will make improvements for the 116 freight trains, 10 Amtrak trains, and six Metra Heritage Corridor trains that traverse this corridor daily. The new double-track connection will allow speeds of 25 mph, providing for increased flexibility for dispatchers and reduced time switching train cars destined for local industry. Once complete, this project will allow access to the new main train tracks around Clearing Yard (Project EW1) on the new East-West Corridor.

Argo Connections is one of 70 projects in the CREATE Program, which is a first-of-its-kind multimodal public-private partnership to improve the rail and roadway transportation network within the Chicago region. To date, 30 CREATE projects have been completed, with five more projects under construction and 17 in various stages of design.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $132 million to the CREATE partners through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program. The federal investment combined with state, local and private money will fund the $32 million construction for the Argo Connections project. CREATE Program partners include the U.S. Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, Chicago Department of Transportation and AAR.

Rep. Lipinski has long been one of the primary champions of CREATE. In addition to helping secure almost $700 million for CREATE, Lipinski has led several delegation letters in support of funding for CREATE. He also helped push the Department of Transportation to resolve an ongoing issue related to minority contracting on the Englewood Flyover project.

“Today’s groundbreaking is another example of the vital role the CREATE Program plays in improving the quality of life for area residents,” Rep. Lipinski said. “Above all, this project demonstrates the need for leadership at the federal level so that projects like this can continue to get funded. Infrastructure investment must be given the priority it deserves.”

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