The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting a virtual public hearing through January 21st, to study the state’s rail system and ways to improve it and help solve problems. The event will take a look at input collected throughout the year on current conditions, capacity concerns, and safety challenges.
The event can be found at www.illinoisrailneeds.org and includes a short video and information on feedback that has been received since the study was launched a year ago. The information gathered will be used to develop a railroad plan that will encompass the entire state of Illinois. It will also help IDOT for a long range transportation plan that will be part rail, part public transport, public waterway, part highway, and part street. The hope is to have a strategic plan and direction for the development of the transportation system moving forward.
This study is set to wrap up at the end of January. Illinois is the only state in which all seven Class 1 railroads operate. Illinois itself boasts more than 10,000 miles of track already and serves a robust passenger rail network not just in Chicago but across 30 communities statewide. Metra does operate 11 lines in the Chicago area.
Under the new Rebuild Illinois plan, Governor JB Pritzker has invested over $500 million into reestablishing passenger rail and $78 to upgrade railroad crossings throughout the state.