A quick reminder for you: if you want to support a Metra stop in Oswego, you’ll have a good chance tomorrow.
Metra is about to embark on its first strategic plan in decades, and they’re looking for your input. The goal of the strategic plan, according to a Metra press release, is to prioritize the agency’s spending decisions, and “use its scarce dollars in the most efficient and effective way possible.”
To that end, they’re looking for opinions on Metra’s mission, vision and goals. They’re holding public open houses throughout their service area for the next few weeks, and the closest one to Oswego is tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Geneva City Hall, 22 South First Street.
It won’t be an official public hearing, but Metra leaders will be on hand tomorrow to hear your thoughts. If you agree with Oswego village leaders that Metra should build a station here, this is a golden opportunity to let the decision makers know.
Other meetings will be held in Chicago, Crystal Lake, Homewood, New Lenox, Glen Ellyn, Libertyville, Evanston and Riverside before July 25. Click here for a full schedule.
Metra has also uploaded an eight-question survey to their website, www.metrarail.com, which allows you to critique Metra’s draft mission and vision statements, and choose the most important from a list of six goals. But the most important question, according to Oswego Village Administrator Steve Jones, is the last one, which allows you to suggest projects for Metra to pursue.
That, he said, is where you can show support for a Metra stop in Oswego. Metra leaders are already gathering information on the proposal, which would extend tracks south from Aurora and place a station at the current park-and-ride location near Orchard and Mill roads.
In January, with Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq and Montgomery Village President Marilyn Michelini to inform them that a phase one engineering study on the Oswego station was in the offing. An Oswego station is still likely more than a decade away, and could cost up to $120 million. But Metra leaders say the support is there.
And Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Joe Costello has said that the RTA would be flexible with a potential sticking point for the Oswego station—namely, that Kendall County residents would have to approve joining the RTA by referendum, and agree to a three-quarters-of-a-cent sales tax increase.
Costello said the RTA provides service to several municipalities outside its membership area, and if Oswego residents find a different way to help cover the cost of a station, the RTA would work something out.
A Metra stop in Oswego would be good news for Montgomery leaders, who also hope for a station in town. Montgomery has yet to launch a park-and-ride, but there are plans for one at the Lyon Metal property on North Main Street. And, Village President Marilyn Michelini has noted, Kane County—where the station would be—is already a member of the RTA.
To take Metra’s survey, log onto www.metrarail.com. The Geneva forum tomorrow is free and open to the public.