CHICAGO — Built in 1913, a modernization project is overdue at Chicago’s Union Station.
On Thursday, a coalition of federal, state and local leaders announced a $418 million modernization project to help bring the station into the 21st century.
From the often-late trains to the jam-packed platforms, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said the project will finally lift thanks to the Biden administration’s bi-partisan infrastructure bill.
“This time I think it’s for real and let me tell you why it’s for real. It’s real because our President Joe Biden decided it’s long overdue to have a national infrastructure bill,” Durbin said.
Durbin said he is working to secure the bulk of the $418 million cost that will come from the federal government through a mega grant, which still needs to be approved, and the rest split among the remaining governmental entities.
The Chicago to Champaign route and points south will vastly improve, so will the line toward Detroit, officials said.
Mayor Lightfoot says if the goal is to incentivize people to drive less, then rail travel must be improved.
“We share a build decision for the future of inner-city rail and transportation for the entire region,” Lightfoot said. “We want to expand green transportation in the Midwest, create reliable access to and from Chicago with reduced travel times and give people the opportunity to travel without their cars.”
Mayor Lightfoot is headed soon to London and Paris in part to see how efficient rail travel is overseas.