Amtrak is using $115 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve tracks, buildings and control systems in Chicago. The move is part of a $1 billion construction program to fund capital projects designed to rebuild the critical infrastructure of Amtrak.
“We are investing in our infrastructure in Chicago to improve our operations and support the growing demand to travel by Amtrak,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.
He noted America’s intercity passenger railroad posted a ridership increase of more than seven percent nationally in the last nine months.
This includes double-digit increases on the Chicago corridor to and from St. Louis, with strong results also on the Hiawatha Service corridor to and from Milwaukee and the Wolverine Service corridor to and from Detroit/Pontiac.
“These Chicago projects will create jobs and make a significant investment in the future of Amtrak and the Midwest rail system,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL. “These improvements are in tandem with the $1.2 billion in Recovery Act funding for work in downstate Illinois that will help bring high speed rail to the Chicago to St. Louis line.”
More than 3 million Amtrak passengers used Chicago Union Station last year, with more than 50 daily trains, making it the fourth-busiest in the national network. In addition, the nearly 130,000 commuters who pass through the station on an average weekday, with 248 weekday commuter train arrivals or departures, will also benefit from the infrastructure improvements.
As the nation’s intercity passenger rail operator, Amtrak reported in the last fiscal year that the railroad carried 27.2 million passengers, making it the second-best year in the company’s history. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day to more than 500 destinations.