DeKalb Metra passenger station can cost up to $400 million
Feb 17, 2017 — Dear supporters,
Our petition has taken off fast, and we’ve got over 300 signatures in just one week!
Our first success is the official response from NIU which is attached below. The Metra Rail Exploratory Committee and DeKalb-Sycamore Area Transportation Study initiative are closely looking into the problem. While NIU is officially very positive about Metra station in DeKalb. an obvious obstacle at this point is the estimated price tag of $400 million.
Keep spreading the word about the petition and the official responses from other instances will be delivered to you shortly.
Jane S. Rogers
President Baker asked me to respond on his behalf since I have been involved with the Metra Rail Exploratory Committee organized by DeKalb County and involved with the DeKalb-Sycamore Area Transportation Study (DSATS) effort examining inter-community transit connections. In general, NIU is very supportive of the idea for a Metra passenger train station in DeKalb for the very reasons you mention. Having this direct connection to the greater Chicagoland area would facilitate greater accessibility for both students and faculty/staff desiring to commute/visit from other communities to the east. However, NIU also recognizes that this connection would require significant infrastructure investment which might be in the magnitude of over $400 million. A significant funding source for supporting the passenger rail network across the 6 counties of the Chicago urban area comes from county sales taxes. Realizing that an added tax burden in DeKalb County is not an easy answer, a study being conducted by the DSATS organization is evaluating inter-community connections and, in particular, the connection to the Elburn station. A possible result from this study may recommend support for a regular shuttle bus service to the Elburn station or other bus connections to Chicago area destinations. Possible alternatives like these might facilitate a more cost effective connection to the passenger rail network and demonstrate the overall county demand which will help the justification for a Metra extension project in the future.
NIU plans to continue working closely with our community partners to find economical transit solutions that will benefit both the university and the overall community needs.
J. V. Heckmann, PE
Associate Vice President for Facilities
Management and Campus Services,
Northern Illinois University
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