Lipinski Helps Secure $100 Million for CREATE Program to Help Local Economy02/16/2010
Congressman Lipinski led the Chicagoland Congressional delegation in sending a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting this funding in September. Congressman Lipinski is a leading advocate for CREATE, having obtained $100 million for the program in the 2005 federal surface transportation bill and having worked successfully with state leaders to secure $300 million for the program in the new state capital bill in July. Congressman Lipinski also helped lead the charge that resulted in Illinois securing $1.2 billion in federal funding for high-speed rail last month. That figure includes $133 million for the Englewood Flyover, a major project that is a key component of CREATE.
"This funding will allow CREATE to continue untangling the knots in the Chicago region's passenger and freight rail system," Congressman Lipinski said. "It will help create jobs, shorten commutes, reduce shipping times, lower fuel usage and pollution, make high-speed rail a reality, and cement our region's position as America's transportation hub. All told, I have helped secure $633 million for CREATE. As the only Chicago-area member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I plan to add to this already impressive total in the surface transportation bill that Congress is currently working on."
The funding for CREATE was provided through the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.
Every day, roughly 1,200 trains pass through the Chicago region, supporting more than 38,000 jobs. But over the next 20 years, demand for freight rail service in Chicago is expected to nearly double. If rail capacity and infrastructure issues are not addressed, studies show the Chicago region will miss out on 17,000 additional jobs and $2 billion in annual economic production.
A project of national economic significance, CREATE will reduce delays and congestion with track, switch, and signal upgrades and by constructing 31 overpasses and underpasses to end conflicts at both rail-rail and highway-rail crossings. CREATE is a first-of-its-kind partnership, bringing together the federal government, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Chicago Department of Transportation, Metra, and the Association of American Railroads. Six CREATE projects have already been completed.
CREATE will provide significant benefits to Congressman Lipinski's Third District. For instance, the Englewood Flyover will eliminate conflicts between Metra trains on the Rock Island line and freight and Amtrak trains, and eventually benefit Metra's Heritage Corridor, Southwest Service line, and BNSF line. Congressman Lipinski discussed the importance of the Englewood Flyover with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in August while visiting the site during a tour of CREATE projects. Another project benefitting the Third District is the Brighton Park Junction modernization, which has been completed. That project increased rail capacity on the Heritage Corridor, and Congressman Lipinski is pushing Metra to take advantage of the work done there to add trains to the line.
"Failure to prepare for future increases in freight rail traffic would stymie growth and do tremendous harm to our economy," Congressman Lipinski said. "That's why we need to act now to implement CREATE. I'm looking forward to continuing to lead the fight for more funding for this essential program."
(Feb. 16, 2010)