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Metra, Oswego, and earmarks


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Daily Herald article about whether Metra should still be doing a study about extending to Oswego and beyond, just because Denny Hastert, when Speaker of the House, got an earmark for a study for something Kendall County can't afford (and because it is out of the RTA area, Metra can't pay for, either).

If nothing else, it reenforces my belief that federal transit money is only the Consultant's Relief Plan.

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Daily Herald article about whether Metra should still be doing a study about extending to Oswego and beyond, just because Denny Hastert, when Speaker of the House, got an earmark for a study for something Kendall County can't afford (and because it is out of the RTA area, Metra can't pay for, either).

If nothing else, it reenforces my belief that federal transit money is only the Consultant's Relief Plan.

Funny because a few years ago there was a problem with Pace running the 907 from Aurora Transportation Center to Oswego.   Oswego and Kendall wouldn't fund the service so it was cut.

This begs the question of what,  if anything,  Kenosha pays for UP North service?  Kenosha IS outside of the service area.  Also,  wouldn't Illinois law have to be amended if Wisconsin wanted to extend service to Milwaukee? 

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Funny because a few years ago there was a problem with Pace running the 907 from Aurora Transportation Center to Oswego.   Oswego and Kendall wouldn't fund the service so it was cut.

This begs the question of what,  if anything,  Kenosha pays for UP North service?  Kenosha IS outside of the service area.  Also,  wouldn't Illinois law have to be amended if Wisconsin wanted to extend service to Milwaukee? 

​The 907 Oswego bus was cut because the grant ran out and Oswego decided to use a Kendall County system rather than pay Pace (discussed here).

The Kenosha one probably gets into what Pace said about operating into Hammond, which is the issue not so much that it is prohibited, but the RTA would have to approve it, and the Kenosha terminal predated RTA. Some others raised the question whether Metra was actually losing money running to Kenosha, compared to what it would cost to turn the trains at Winthrop Harbor.   I see that issue was discussed in the thread I cited in the preceding paragraph, including the question whether it is really Metra or UP that is operating that service. Clearly, Wisconsin would have had to pay to extend the train to Milwaukee, but Scott Walker rendered that issue moot by killing the KRM project and turning the money over to MCTS. Apparently, this federal earmark can't be redirected.

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  • 2 months later...

Tribune article (may hit paywall) on not to expect Metra in Kendall County, essentially because Metra doesn't have the $300 million capital cost, not to mention Kendall not being in the RTA, there are other demands for service, such as on the Heritage Corridor, and it is not clear the BNSF would allow the service on its tracks. Oberman also indicated that Metra is going to stop wasting the money earmarked for the study.

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The 907 Oswego bus was cut because the grant ran out and Oswego decided to use a Kendall County system rather than pay Pace (discussed here).

The Kenosha one probably gets into what Pace said about operating into Hammond, which is the issue not so much that it is prohibited, but the RTA would have to approve it, and the Kenosha terminal predated RTA. Some others raised the question whether Metra was actually losing money running to Kenosha, compared to what it would cost to turn the trains at Winthrop Harbor.   I see that issue was discussed in the thread I cited in the preceding paragraph, including the question whether it is really Metra or UP that is operating that service. Clearly, Wisconsin would have had to pay to extend the train to Milwaukee, but Scott Walker rendered that issue moot by killing the KRM project and turning the money over to MCTS. Apparently, this federal earmark can't be redirected.

It's going to be a very long time, if ever that either Metra or Amtrak moves over to the former C&NW tracks from Kenosha to Milwaukee.

The C&NW ripped them up & I believe only local freight service is available on that line as there's only one track left that's in far too poor condition for passenger service.

Amtrak has said in the past they would prefer for the trains to run through Evanston instead of Glenview, but they also don't have the money to rebuild the roadbed & tracks. They did require that one apartment building on Canal at the north end of the Union Station throat to have a large enough opening to run trains through if that track that connected to the old C&NW long distance passenger yard were to be re-established, But I don't know if they retained an easement through the Kinzie Park development.

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It's going to be a very long time, if ever that either Metra or Amtrak moves over to the former C&NW tracks from Kenosha to Milwaukee.

The C&NW ripped them up & I believe only local freight service is available on that line as there's only one track left that's in far too poor condition for passenger service.

Amtrak has said in the past they would prefer for the trains to run through Evanston instead of Glenview, but they also don't have the money to rebuild the roadbed & tracks. They did require that one apartment building on Canal at the north end of the Union Station throat to have a large enough opening to run trains through if that track that connected to the old C&NW long distance passenger yard were to be re-established, But I don't know if they retained an easement through the Kinzie Park development.

Having Amtrak run through Evanston is like asking for service along UP-W Line to Dekalb and towns west from there including Iowa even though that wouldn't be a bad idea but it'll never happen because this state is in a major hellhole.

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Having Amtrak run through Evanston is like asking for service along UP-W Line to Dekalb and towns west from there including Iowa even though that wouldn't be a bad idea but it'll never happen because this state is in a major hellhole.

The DeKalb issue falls on both UP and the Townies of DeKalb, citing the issue of "undesirables," although sending the Amtrak to Rockford (via Elgin and Huntley) would yield almost the same result.*

* Despite the project being all but dead, and there would have to be the equivalent of Huskie Line service to said Amtrak Station. The Geneva Shuttle operates Friday and Sunday from the Student Center. </NIU>

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The DeKalb issue falls on both UP and the Townies of DeKalb, citing the issue of "undesirables," although sending the Amtrak to Rockford (via Elgin and Huntley) would yield almost the same result.*

* Despite the project being all but dead, and there would have to be the equivalent of Huskie Line service to said Amtrak Station. The Geneva Shuttle operates Friday and Sunday from the Student Center. </NIU>

Agreed! There is a shuttle the runs from the student center to Elburn Metra but my concern is how effective it is because it don't run very often throughout the day. Amtrak to Rockford makes sense but wouldn't that interfere with the bus services at Union Station (not Mega Bus)? I believe it's political bs and no wonder why this state lacks reasonable transportation. 

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Agreed! There is a shuttle the runs from the student center to Elburn Metra but my concern is how effective it is because it don't run very often throughout the day. Amtrak to Rockford makes sense but wouldn't that interfere with the bus services at Union Station (not Mega Bus)? I believe it's political bs and no wonder why this state lacks reasonable transportation. 

Sort of like the U Pass debate, NIU is a residential school and thus does not have a commuter population like Chicago State.Other than that, the question becomes how far out the urban sprawl should go.

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Sort of like the U Pass debate, NIU is a residential school and thus does not have a commuter population like Chicago State.Other than that, the question becomes how far out the urban sprawl should go.

NIU's does have a commuter population (not really talking about those in the Frats or apartments on Twombly - I think I would consider Malta, Rockford/Belvidere, Kane County, and Sycamore) and CSU's is almost the same but entirely different. Commuter students from Northern have almost no choice but to take personal vehicles (the mobility service and Huskie Routes 6 and 7 are virtually the only other transit options outside of the immediate campus). CSU has a lot more options (qualitatively and quantitatively speaking). If I am not mistaken, NIU just got Greyhound back to DeKalb after a years-long disappearance.

I think the one thing that also stands out is that Eastern (and Western) DeKalb County isn't in the RTA either; so either a Transit District that pays into the district (and maybe, in effect, pays for the train station), or student fees will need to be invested with the City of DeKalb to commit outward. Is a 15-mile extension worth the cost (and here we are deviating from a smaller extension into Kendall County, which is technically in the CMAP scope - not the RTA's).

Edited by MetroShadow
I went to NIU?
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NIU's does have a commuter population (not really talking about those in the Frats or apartments on Twombly - I think I would consider Malta, Rockford/Belvidere, Kane County, and Sycamore) ..

My point was (since Garmon was referring to an Elburn shuttle) that, for the most part, students were not commuting on a daily basis to the Chicago metro area and hence needed Metra service. Metra and Pace have frequently brought up that Dekalb is not in the RTA area.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 months later...
1 hour ago, richii0909 said:

I was on BNSF last wed heading toward the city and there were crew members counting on how many people got on and off

That isn’t likely related to a possible extension to Oswego. I saw something similar on an RI train, so there may be a systemwide count. One possibility is that they are studying the impact of the Round Trip Plus passes to be released soon.

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1 hour ago, Pace831 said:

That isn’t likely related to a possible extension to Oswego. I saw something similar on an RI train, so there may be a systemwide count. One possibility is that they are studying the impact of the Round Trip Plus passes to be released soon.

They do counts on all lines each year. They were on UP-NW at the beginning of the month.

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1 hour ago, busfan2847 said:

They do counts on all lines each year. They were on UP-NW at the beginning of the month.

The last on/off counts were in 2016 and 2014. I can’t find evidence of a 2017 count. The recent fare zone changes and upcoming round trip ticket made me think they’d have a reason to do another count at this time.

Most of Metra’s ridership statistics are estimates based on ticket sales, rather than the actual number of boardings.

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  • 7 months later...
1 hour ago, NewFlyerMCI said:

This sounds nice. I agree with the person who said it doesn't make sense for Kendall County to pay into the RTA. Maybe just the village/city/township of Oswego if possible, but definitely not the entire county.

I’ll agree for the time being, but the issue of Kendall County joining the RTA should be revisited if/when the line actually gets built.

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1 hour ago, Pace831 said:

I’ll agree for the time being, but the issue of Kendall County joining the RTA should be revisited if/when the line actually gets built.

I;m curious as your reasoning? I'd agree if the entire county would be receiving some level of Pace/Metra service, but the only people to benefit would be Oswego and maybe Boulder Hill. Even if NE Kendall County is the most populous part of the county, should they be subsidized at the expense of the rest of the county who'll receive no tangible benefit?

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