Lipinski Announces Englewood Flyover Groundbreaking (October 10, 2011)

Today, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-03) issued the following statement on the start of construction on the Englewood Flyover, a long-awaited $133 million project that will create nearly 1,500 jobs, reduce Metra delays for Third District riders, and boost long-term economic growth as part of the CREATE rail modernization project. Rep. Lipinski celebrated groundbreaking on the flyover at the project’s site at 63rd Street and State Street with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin, and other elected officials.

“There aren’t many projects that deliver this kind of bang for the buck,” Rep. Lipinski said. “The Englewood Flyover means more jobs, better Metra service, faster freight movement, high-speed rail, and less congestion on our roads. As a linchpin of the CREATE rail modernization project, it’s critical to modernizing our aging rail system, preserving our status as America’s transportation hub, and boosting long-term job creation in northeastern Illinois. Having obtained the initial $100 million for CREATE back in 2005, having helped to secure and preserve the funding for the flyover, and having worked to keep the project on track when negotiations hit a snag, I’m very glad we’re finally breaking ground.”

The Englewood Flyover is a bridge that will carry Metra’s Rock Island line over the Norfolk Southern/Amtrak tracks near 63rd Street and State Street in Chicago. Currently, approximately 140 Metra, Amtrak, and freight trains clog the intersection daily, producing long delays. In addition to immediately reducing delays on Metra’s Rock Island District line, the flyover is the critical first step toward eliminating delays on Metra’s Southwest Service line. On average, 40,000 people ride the Rock Island and Southwest Service lines each weekday.

A partnership between the federal government, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Chicago Department of Transportation, Metra, and the Association of American Railroads, CREATE will reduce congestion with track, switch, and signal upgrades, as well as new overpasses and underpasses. Failure to untangle Chicago’s congested and aging freight-rail system through CREATE would mean missing out on 17,000 jobs and $2 billion in annual economic production in the Chicago metropolitan area.

“Completing the Englewood Flyover is just the first step to untangling Chicago’s congested freight and commuter rail system,” Rep. Lipinski said. “To finish the job, we must pass a robust transportation reauthorization bill. Three years ago I brought the House Transportation Committee to Chicago to hold the first hearing on this bill. I've continued to push for passage of such a bill because it will put hundreds of thousands of people to work building badly needed, long-overdue projects. As my constituents reiterated to me at my Job Fair this past week, they don’t want partisan bickering, they want action that gets people back to work and helps restore America’s economic strength for years to come.”

(October 10, 2011)