U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, hosted a hearing last week with officials from Metra, Amtrak and freight railroads to question them about needed service improvements for commuters.
Lipinski, the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, has been vocal about service disruptions affecting his constituents, according to a news release.
“Rail is the lifeblood of northeastern Illinois,” Lipinski said. “Too often, Metra riders are not getting the service that they deserve.”
A panel of elected officials in the Chicago area participated, including Romeoville Mayor John Noak. The mayors of Western Springs and Oak Lawn were in attendance as well to ask what was being done to ensure further disruptions wouldn’t happen.
Lipinski was especially vocal when a service disruption in February left nearly 100,000 passengers stranded for several hours at Chicago’s Union Station.
The congressman said he hoped for 2019 to be a better year for Metra, but he felt the agency was “coming up frustratingly short.”
“It is time to stop passing the buck and find solutions,” Lipinski said.
During Noak’s remarks, he thanked Lipinski for holding the hearing and pointed out the impact of service delays on the lives of passengers.
“When we talk about reliability, when we talk about time, we’re talking about people’s lives,” Noak said.
Lipinski said these discussions will be important for 2020, when Amtrak and other rail funding programs are up for renewal.