Officials announce another $7 million to improve Chicago's Union Station

Following Amtrak’s January commitment of $12 million for renovations of Chicago’s Union Station, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and three congressmen said Friday that an additional $7 million will be earmarked to increase the system’s capacity.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) joined Emanuel and officials from Amtrak and Metra in the announcement. The funding will support a Terminal Planning Study and create a Service Development Plan to allow better connectivity throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods and suburbs via better commuter access, high-speed and intercity train service, and reduced congestion.

“With the help of these federal resources, Union Station will be able to keep pace with rising demand on our railways to remain an economic engine for Chicago and keep our city on the move for many more decades to come,” Emanuel said. 

Emanuel plans to coordinate efforts with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the state of Illinois and the two railroad companies to provide a  $500 million overhaul of Chicago’s rail transportation hub. The funding comprises $3 million from the Federal Railroad Administration, matched by $2 million from Illinois and $1 million each from Metra and the city of Chicago.

“We’ll be easing rail congestion outside the station and laying the groundwork for a vast improvement of the passenger experience inside the station," Durbin said. "I commend Mayor Emanuel and Amtrak for having the vision to reimagine a Union Station with improved air quality, pedestrian flow and retail space and look forward to working with them to make it a reality.”

Chicago’s Union Station is the third-busiest railroad terminal in the nation, carrying close to 125,000 passengers on over 300 trains each weekday.