CrossRail Chicago should be a priority in the region's ON TO 2050 plan
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.
Making CrossRail happen would require an unprecedented collaboration across agencies and jurisdictions, but it would offer the biggest return on investment of any transportation project in Chicago or the Midwest. The first step is to make CrossRail a priority in the Chicago region's next major plan, ON TO 2050.
CrossRail Chicago embodies the three principles of ON TO 2050: it takes advantage of existing infrastructure; it is resilient to changes in climate, technology, and funding; and it improves mobility for low income communities and people of color.
CrossRail Chicago links two key railroad lines—that are already largely under public ownership—to create a continuous passenger route through Chicago and Cook County. The various projects that comprise CrossRail would upgrade existing infrastructure to increase capacity, add flexibility, improve safety, and reduce operating costs and environmental impact. The benefits of these upgrades would extend throughout the CMAP region, and even the entire Midwest.
The transportation and railroad planning models that we have relied on for the last 50 years are failing to respond to changing travel demands. CrossRail Chicago fixes this by uniting many geographic and demographic constituencies around one plan to leverage existing infrastructure to improve mobility around the region.