Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR1746
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Full Text of SR1746  100th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Illinois and Chicago are known as the nation's
3rail hub and, pursuant to data provided by the Metropolitan
4Planning Council, the Chicago region serves as a national
5east-west gateway for six of the seven major Class I railroads
6that transport approximately 25% of all U.S. freight rail
7traffic and 44% of all U.S. intermodal "container" units,
8totaling more than 1.3 million loaded rail cars annually; and
9    WHEREAS, Metra operates 691 weekday trains, stopping at 241
10stations on 11 rail lines in the Chicago region; and
11    WHEREAS, Amtrak operates a nationwide rail network,
12serving more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District
13of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces on more than 21,400
14miles of routes, with Chicago being a major hub for most of
15their interstate services; and
16    WHEREAS, These activities provide vital transit services
17for Illinois residents, Illinois commerce, and the nation; and
18    WHEREAS, Actual and projected growth in rail freight,
19Metra, and Amtrak service continues to put pressure on existing
20Illinois rail systems, often creating higher congestion and
21reduced safety when passenger and freight share the same rail



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1lines; and
2    WHEREAS, The Illinois Department of Transportation
3participated in a nine-state planning effort that resulted in
4publication of the Midwest Regional Rail System (MWRRS)
5executive report in September of 2004, which outlined steps to
6improve regional rail mobility and stimulate economic
7development at an estimated budget of $7. 7 billion; it is
8unclear what impact has been achieved; and
9    WHEREAS, The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
10mandates a process to use either an Environmental Assessment,
11or a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, to
12collect data, evaluate impacts, review alternatives, and
13propose project solutions; and
14    WHEREAS, One of the current rail projects being studied is
15an Environmental Assessment of proposed improvements to the
16Chicago-Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Program estimated
17to cost $195 million along with increased annual operating
18expenses to add three daily round trips to the Amtrak Hiawatha
19service; and
20    WHEREAS, Several communities, including the Village of
21Glenview and the City of Lake Forest, have expressed strong
22concerns about this Environmental Assessment's lack of data and



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1missing analyses of potential impacts of, and alternatives to,
2freight train holding tracks, noise, vibrations, releases into
3the air to adjacent residential areas, hospital, schools, and
4rare nature preserves; and
5    WHEREAS, It is in the public's best interest to fully
6evaluate the benefits and impacts of rail projects in Illinois
7prior to seeking public funding and agency permitting for such
8projects; therefore, be it
10ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that in accordance with the
11National Environmental Policy Act and, in support of
12potentially impacted communities in Illinois, all proposed
13Illinois rail projects with new freight train holding tracks
14adjacent to residential areas, including the current
15Chicago-Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Program described
16above, are urged to have full Environmental Impact Statement
17reviews; and be it further
18    RESOLVED, That the Illinois Department of Transportation
19is urged to pursue options to eliminate or minimize the routing
20of bypass freight traffic through the Chicago metropolitan
21area, including prioritizing the review and study of rail
22bypass systems around Chicago that would ensure coastal rail
23traffic not destined for Chicago could more efficiently bypass



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1the Chicago region and significantly reduce the negative
2impacts of freight rail in the highest populated areas of
3Illinois; and be it further
4    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
5delivered to all members of the Illinois Congressional
6Delegation and the Secretary of Transportation.