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Project Profiles

Chicago Region Environmental and
 Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE)

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Project Sponsor / Borrower

City of Chicago

Program Areas

Project DeliveryNon-Road Pricing Revenue

Mode

Multimodal (freight rail, passenger rail and highway)

Description

The Chicago region is the world's third busiest intermodal hub, covering approximately 16,000 acres. It's also where six of the seven Class I freight railroads converge and where nearly a quarter of the nation's rail shipments arrive or pass through.

The CREATE project is maximizing the use of four train transportation corridors, including three primarily handling freight traffic and one primarily handling passenger traffic. The project involves 70 improvements, including:

  • 25 new roadway overpasses or underpasses at locations where auto and pedestrian traffic currently crosses railroad tracks at grade level
  • 6 new rail overpasses or underpasses to separate passenger and freight train tracks
  • 36 other railroad projects including viaduct improvements, grade crossing safety enhancements, and extensive upgrades of tracks, switches and signal systems.

The project will require six to ten years to construct and will be completed in multiple phases.

Selecting the improvements for CREATE was a collaborative process between the freight railroads, State of Illinois Department of Transportation, City of Chicago Department of Transportation, Metra and Amtrak. Input on grade crossings and traffic congestion was considered from the Illinois Commerce Commission and Chicago Area Transportation Study.

Six private freight railroads are planning to make a $212 equity contribution to support the project. They include: BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CN, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad. The railroads are represented by the American Association of Railroads.

Cost

$3.05 billion (approximately)

Funding Sources

In 2011, the unfunded CREATE program need was estimated at about $2.01 billion.

The following funding has been committed to date:

  • Private freight railroad contributions - $116 million ($212 million planned for entire project)
  • Federal funds - $334.9 million, including a $100 million TIGER grant and $133 million in ARRA High Speed Rail funds in 2010
  • State funds - $210 million plus $200 million additional authorized in 2009 in Illinois Capital Bill
  • Local funds - $30 million (Chicago DOT)
  • Pre-CREATE funding from various sources - $286.5 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Primarily Design-Bid-Build and internal railroad capabilities (Force Account)

Private Partner

Equity partners: BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CN, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad

Project Advisors / Consultants

Jacobs, Inc.

HNTB

Parsons Transportation Group, Inc.

Edwards and Kelcey Design Services

Patrick Engineering

TransSystems Corporation

Hanson Professional Services, Inc.

Alfred Bensch & Co.

Lenders

Bondholders (pending approval of Illinois Capital Improvements Bond Program)

Duration / Status

As of September 2012:

  • Projects completed: 15
  • Projects under construction: 11
  • Projects in final design: 5
  • Projects undergoing environmental review: 17
  • Unfunded projects: 22

Financial Status

Unfunded portion: approximately $2.01 billion

Innovations

  • CREATE represents the first time state and local governments have partnered with the railroad industry to solve the problem of auto and rail congestion on such a large scale.
  • CREATE also is the first time so many competing railroads have come together as partners to increase the efficiency of an urban rail network. Six of the seven major railroads operating in North America pass through Chicago. All six of those railroads are partners in the CREATE Program.
  • Together the six private railroads plan to contribute $212 million to the $3 billion CREATE program.

Related Links / Articles

Official Project Website

Contacts

Guy Tridgell
Illinois Department of Transportation 
(312) 814-4693 
guy.tridgell@illinois.gov

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
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