Local, state and federal officials came together Tuesday to announce that Metra is moving forward with studies to advance a project to extend the Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway commuter rail service from Aurora to Oswego.
U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), Metra CEO Alex Clifford and Oswego Mayor Brian LeClercq hosted a news conference to discuss the project.
See below for more information from a press release issued by Hultgren’s office:
"Continuing to move forward on the Oswego Metra stop project is very exciting for us and our residents," Cross said. "We have been working on this for quite a while now and want to make sure the project stays on track and full steam ahead."
To advance the project, Metra recently issued a Request for Proposal, due Aug. 31, with two elements related to the extension of the BNSF Line to Oswego. Those elements include performing an environmental assessment for the proposed project and preliminary engineering of the two potential stations' facilities and the overnight yard facility, including tracks, employee building and parking.
The environmental assessment and the preliminary engineering are anticipated to take 18 months to complete. Design for other project elements including track and signal work will be handled by BNSF.
"This project will be a huge victory for a region that has seen incredible growth over the past decade," said Hultgren, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "Metra rail service to Oswego will help to relieve some of the pressure on the Aurora stop and our expressways, and provide a huge economic boon to the region and improve our quality of life."
"We look forward to working with our partner the BNSF as well as the local, state, and federal stakeholders involved in this project," Clifford said. "Metra is committed to completing the elements in the RFP within the 18-month time frame for a better understanding of the project."
"It is great to see Metra moving forward with the Phase 1 Engineering Study," LeClercq said. "This is a growing area and public transportation is a vital resource for our future viability."
Background: The proposed extension of Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) commuter rail service from Aurora to Oswego would bring commuter rail service to a fast-growing area of Kendall County and would build on the success of the Oswego park-and-ride lot which connects passengers with the BNSF Line at Aurora Transportation Center via dedicated Pace bus service.
An intermediate station between Aurora and Oswego, most likely in Montgomery, may also be explored.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) will include all work to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This includes the development of corridor data including spatial, environmental, socio-economic, and transportation data. The EA will evaluate 24 categories of potential impact and recommend appropriate mitigation strategies for any identified impacts.
Extensive coordination with regulatory and review agencies as well as two public meetings will be part of the anticipated 18-month-long EA process.