Illinois to discuss new ways to expand Amtrak Hiawatha service after IDOT letter reinforces suburban concerns

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“We continue to seek a win-win alternative that would improve passenger rail without unnecessary negative health, safety and environmental impacts.”

[Below is a summary of the Chicago Tribune article]

Leaders in Lake Forest and Glenview are praising a recent announcement from the head of Illinois’ transportation department casting doubt over a controversial project to build holding tracks in their communities and allow Amtrak to expand service along its Hiawatha line that runs between Chicago and Milwaukee.

But despite the statement from Illinois Department of Transportation Acting Secretary Omer Osman earlier this month saying the agency would not pursue federal dollars related to the project, representatives from IDOT and Amtrak recently said discussions will continue between all agencies involved in the expansion talks on different ideas to improve Hiawatha service.

The latest development in the ongoing debate over the expansion project came after Osman said in a letter May 2 that IDOT wouldn’t help seek federal funding for the addition of holding tracks in Lake Forest or Glenview.

The letter was released after Osman met with State Sens. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and Laura Fine (D-Glenview) about the project, which has created concern among residents in some North Shore communities.

Read the full article here.

Gary Ricke