Feds chip in $132 million grant for ambitious 75th Street rail project

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao recently recognized Gov. Bruce Rauner and a number of private and public entities that have worked on the $474 million 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, which is designed to eliminate a multitude of conflict points in the nation’s “worst rail bottleneck in the country," according to a statement from the governor’s office. 

“The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project is a prime example of how multiple partners working across industry and government can achieve big results for taxpayers,” Rauner said.

Chao brought more than kind words to the effort. She also announced the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $132 million in grants to the project. 

“These grants empower states and communities to make significant long-term infrastructure improvements that will shape transportation and mobility for decades to come,” she said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao  

Other contributors include the Illinois Department of Transportation, $111 million; $116 million from the freight railroads; $78 million from Cook County; $23 million from Metra; $9 million from the city of Chicago; and $5 million from passenger rail line Amtrak.

The investment could lead to an estimated $3.8 billion in economic benefit, and it could additionally improve mobility, air quality and safety, according to the statement. 

“The 75th Street project is a blueprint for how to help solve our infrastructure needs going forward,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said. “By thinking big and working together, we can begin to build a world-class system of transportation for the people of Illinois.”


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