December 01, 2014
Today Amtrak announced that ELPC Executive Director Howard A. Learner was named to the Chicago Gateway Initiative, a blue-ribbon panel of rail and transportation leaders. The panel is charged with identifying and evaluating infrastructure investments and operational actions that will optimize Amtrak on-time performance and improve freight rail service. The objectives are to minimize disruptions and delays and accelerate the construction of infrastructure projects. A final report on recommendations is expected by the end of May 2015.
According to an Amtrak press release: “An unprecedented level of rail congestion is causing major delays for Amtrak passengers and freight shipments, and those delays are damaging the U.S. economy … Because Chicago is the hub of the U.S. rail network, and the key gateway between East and West rail traffic, gridlock in the Chicago area is causing major delays throughout the United States. The congestion problem is caused by a combination of rising demand on the East Coast for more inter-modal freight and crude oil shipments that originate west of Chicago, under-investment in critical rail infrastructure that produces public benefits, and short-term capital projects that create additional temporary bottlenecks.”