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CREATE Receives $12.9MM Grant for Pullman Junction Project

Written by Andrew Corselli
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“This CRISI grant will pay dividends beyond Chicagoland to customers and families across the country,” said Ian Jefferies, President and CEO, AAR.

The CREATE partners received a $12.9 million federal grant for the Pullman Junction project in the south Chicago communities of Burnside and Cottage Grove Heights.

This investment from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) aims to improve rail safety and fluidity, and reduce congestion throughout the Chicago Terminal by constructing a second main track, improving existing rail track geometry, increasing operating speeds, and upgrading signals and switches in the vicinity of Pullman Junction.

One-quarter of all U.S. freight rail shipments move to, from and through Chicago each year. These improvements aim to increase efficiency by removing bottlenecks and replacing outdated infrastructure that slows train movements and limits capacity.

The CRISI grant application for CREATE’s Pullman Junction project was submitted by the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DOTH) on behalf of the CREATE partners. This $12.9 million federal award leverages $6.5 million from IDOT and $6.5 million from AAR to complete construction of the Pullman Junction project.

The Pullman Junction project location map. Photo via: http://www.createprogram.org/.

CREATE said “construction of the Pullman Junction project will lead to $172.8 million in benefits. This includes approximately $50 million in benefits related to increased safety, $60 million in reduced fuel usage and emissions for trucks, $3 million in reduced delay on the rail network, and $60 million from improved state of good repair for our nation’s infrastructure.”

The Pullman Junction project is a rail project on Chicago’s East-West Corridor. The project is aligned with ongoing planning and construction activities elsewhere in the Chicago Terminal, including the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP).

An average of nearly 100 trains travel the Chicago East-West Corridor daily. Furthermore, delays at these locations spread throughout the Chicago Terminal. By undertaking the Pullman Junction project and 75th St. CIP simultaneously, the hope is to maximize benefits from both projects.

Breaking ground at 75th St. CIP in 2018. Left to right: Then AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger, Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle, USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Photo by Mark Llanuza.

“The Pullman Junction project has national impacts by addressing a major chokepoint and improving supply chain fluidity for goods moving through Chicago to markets across North America,” said Ian Jefferies, President and CEO, AAR. “This CRISI grant will pay dividends beyond Chicagoland to customers and families across the country who depend on the diverse products moved by rail.”

“We are proud to collaborate with our partners to help secure this important grant and deliver yet another major piece of the CREATE Program,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “These investments will pay dividends for efficient transportation far into the future, while improving safety and quality of life throughout the state and the region.”

“Investments in our railroad infrastructure create jobs and build on Chicago’s status as a transportation hub for the nation,” said Gia Biagi, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation. “This project will allow goods to flow more efficiently via rail, help reduce congestion and truck traffic on local roadways, and, importantly, improve air quality for Chicagoans, especially residents of Burnside, Cottage Grove Heights, and nearby communities.”

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