Action Alert: Make all of CrossRail Chicago a priority in next regional plan

June 26, 2018

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has published the draft of its next major regional plan, ON TO 2050, and the public comment period is open through August 14, 2018. Now is the time to ask CMAP to make CrossRail Chicago a priority.

CrossRail Chicago is the Midwest High Speed Rail Association's vision to bring fast, frequent and reliable trains through Chicago and Cook County by upgrading existing tracks. It would link two existing rail lines to allow frequent commuter trains, including airport express trains. It would also be the heart of the Midwest's high-speed rail network.

CrossRail is a collection of individual projects, a good portion of which are already identified as regional priorities in the ON TO 2050 draft. These include:

  • Reconfiguring A-2 Crossing, where tracks for the Metra Milwaukee North and West lines cross the Union Pacific West line,
  • Upgrades to increase capacity on the Milwaukee West line, and
  • Improvements to Chicago Union Station, including converting old mail platforms to passenger platforms for trains that can continue through the station.

The other elements of CrossRail do appear in the ON TO 2050 draft, but as fiscally unconstrained (non-priority) projects.

Completing all of CrossRail’s projects would be worth much more than the sum of the parts. It would revolutionize regional mobility by creating a new north-south connection through Chicago and Cook County. It would benefit a wide variety of people and places, from improving job access for areas with high unemployment to creating an easy way for travelers from around the Midwest to reach O’Hare.

Because CrossRail demands collaboration across agencies and jurisdictions, it needs the leadership of a regional agency like CMAP. Strong regional leadership is especially important in light of the City of Chicago’s recent decision to ignore broader needs and pursue a single-purpose, narrow-market downtown-to-O’Hare link.

You can truly make a difference by sending a message to CMAP today. Our form makes it easy to submit a comment to the ON TO 2050 team. We’ll also deliver a hard copy of your message to CMAP Executive Director Joe Szabo. When hundreds of copies of letters from our members land on a decision-maker’s desk, they take notice!