On Thursday, December 12, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker paid a visit to Glenview Village Hall for a private meet-and-greet with citizens, City officials and legislators who fought against a proposal to build a Third Rail through Glenview and Lake Forest. The proposal was as part of a larger $200-plus million project to expand Amtrak Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee from seven to 10 daily roundtrips.
“We are very thankful of Governor Pritzker’s and IDOT Secretary Osman’s support to remove the Third Rail from the project. For the past several years, we worked with the Village of Glenview to share information and to find a better solution while keeping the best interests of both communities remaining first and foremost,” expressed Mayor George Pandaleon.
Governor Pritzker stated “Expansion of passenger and freight rail capacity is critical to the economic future of Illinois; the State of Illinois will continue to partner with Amtrak, Metra, and the private rail companies to pursue smart solutions for expansion that avoid significant negative impacts to our communities when feasible. In this case, we understand that the freight train Holding Track components of the Amtrak Hiawatha Expansion Project proposed in Glenview and Lake Forest would have created unacceptable impacts on the residents and businesses, and therefore they have been removed from the project.”
In 2018, the Lake Forest City Council passed a Resolution expressing concern over the design alternatives proposed in the Environmental Assessment Proposal. With assistance from the Lake Forest ACTION Committee, the City communicated these concerns to the project’s leaders, stakeholders and legislators.
In a May 10, 2019 letter to state Senators Laura Fine (D-9th) and Julie Morrison (D-29th), Illinois Department of Transportation Acting Secretary Omar Osman stated that “IDOT will not agree to freight train holding tracks in either Glenview of Lake Forest” as part of the project.
Initially proposed in 2015, the two-mile long freight train Holding Track would have been built next to the existing Union Pacific tracks through six residential neighborhoods in west Glenview. Another three-mile long Third Rail through Lake Forest would have had similar negative environmental impacts on the City, especially on the Middlefork Savanna.
Click here for more information and related documents.
Pictured above are Fourth Ward Alderman Ray Buschmann, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor George Pandaleon.