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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / Federal grant will fund preparations for Chicago Union Station improvements

Federal grant will fund preparations for Chicago Union Station improvements

By | August 18, 2022

FRA to provide $3 million in matching funds for design and engineering of concourse upgrades

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Exterior of a station building
Exterior of a station building
A federal grant will help fund planning for improvements at Chicago Union Station (David Lassen)

CHICAGO — The Federal Railroad Administration will provide a $3 million grant for a project to upgrade concourses at Chicago Union Station, matching funds by Amtrak and its partners and bringing the concourse project to the point where it is ready for construction.

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the funding award on Wednesday. The $3 million in FRA funds will be matched by $1.5 million by Metra, $600,000 by the Chicago Department of Transportation, $400,000 from Amtrak (via money from a real estate transaction at the station), and $250,000 each from the Illinois Department of Transportation and Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways.

“With this federal funding, we can take the next step in Chicago Union Station’s revitalization,” Durbin said in a press release. “As the nation’s fourth busiest Amtrak station, Chicago Union Station is worthy of this federal support and Illinoisans and travelers will benefit from this investment for years to come.” Lightfoot said, “These improvements will enhance the commuter experience and connect even more visitors to our great city via train.”

The total of $6 million will pay for design and engineering work, and other costs such as construction management, for the plan to rehabilitate and improve station concourses. Jeannie Kwon, Amtrak vice president, stations/capital delivery, said, “Production of final design documents will allow Amtrak to quickly secure a construction contractor to execute a high-quality design.”

Actual construction would be part of a series of projects to be funded by a National Infrastructure Project Assistance, or Mega Program, grant of more than $250 million being sought by Amtrak and its partners [see “Amtrak unveils infrastructure plan to transform Chicago operations,” Trains News Wire, June 10, 2022]. In addition to Union Station improvements, that package of projects would address improved access to the station on some routes into the city.

4 thoughts on “Federal grant will fund preparations for Chicago Union Station improvements

  1. I am not sure what $6M will get done. (I know the article says what $ for.) I clicked the link in the last paragraph and found:

    “Amtrak is seeking more than $200 million in federal funding…”

    “Chicago Union Station mail platform “reactivation:” $35 million”

    “Union Station trainshed ventilation, concourse, and platform capacity improvements: $97.3 million”

    So a long way from getting anything done beyond politicians announcement ceremonies. This wasn’t the first. Improvements have been talked about for decades. I would like to see actual plans. Good luck.

    1. The article plainly states that this $6M is for the design and engineering work only, not for the actual construction.

  2. Note to the News Wire editor: I’ve noticed more stories recently that are posted without bylines. A few read more like press releases. I seem to recall that that we used to see “By Trains staff” bylines from time-to-time. Would like to encourage the use of bylines on all News Wire stories. Thanks!

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