Local, State, Federal Officials: Oswego Metra Extension Moving Forward
Oswego, IL – At a press conference in Oswego, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), Metra CEO Alex Clifford and Oswego Mayor Brian LeClercq announced today that Metra is moving forward with studies to advance a project to extend the Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) commuter rail service from Aurora to Oswego.
"Continuing to move forward on the Oswego Metra stop project is very exciting for us and our residents," said Cross. "We have been working on this for quite awhile now and want to make sure the project stays on track and full steam ahead."
To advance the project, Metra recently issued a Request for Proposal (RFP), due on August 31, 2011, with two elements related to the extension of the BNSF Line to Oswego. Those elements include performing an Environmental Assessment for the proposed project and Preliminary Engineering of the two potential stations' facilities and the overnight yard facility (including tracks, employee building and parking).
The Environmental Assessment and the Preliminary Engineering are anticipated to take 18 months to complete. Design for other project elements including track and signal work will be handled by BNSF.
"This project will be a huge victory for a region that has seen incredible growth over the past decade," said Hultgren, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. "Metra rail service to Oswego will help to relieve some of the pressure on the Aurora stop and our expressways, and provide a huge economic boon to the region and improve our quality of life."
"We look forward to working with our partner the BNSF as well as the local, state, and federal stakeholders involved in this project," said Clifford. "Metra is committed to completing the elements in the RFP within the 18-month timeframe for a better understanding of the project."
"It is great to see Metra moving forward with the Phase 1 Engineering Study," said LeClercq. "This is a growing area and public transportation is a vital resource for our future viability."
Background: The proposed extension of Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) commuter rail service from Aurora to Oswego would bring commuter rail service to a fast-growing area of Kendall County and would build on the success of the Oswego park-and-ride lot which connects passengers with the BNSF Line at Aurora Transportation Center via dedicated Pace bus service.
An intermediate station between Aurora and Oswego, most likely in Montgomery, may also be explored.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) will include all work to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This includes the development of corridor data including spatial, environmental, socio-economic, and transportation data. The EA will evaluate twenty-four categories of potential impact and recommend appropriate mitigation strategies for any identified impacts. Extensive coordination with regulatory and review agencies as well as two public meetings will be part of the anticipated 18-month-long EA process.
The Preliminary Engineering (PE) work will include data collection and design work that will be developed to an 80% level of design. The development of construction cost estimates, including a design and construction schedule, and operating and maintenance cost estimates is also part of the PE work. Additional work to support Metra’s documentation of benefits of the project and to support the application for FTA New Starts funds is also included in this PE contract. Coordination with Metra and BNSF Railway as well as with the concurrent EA process will occur throughout the anticipated 18-month-long PE process.