November 29, 2018

Duckworth, Durbin, Krishnamoorthi, Quigley Statement on O’Hare Western Access Framework Agreement


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following today’s approval by the Illinois Tollway Authority of a framework agreement with Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railway to move the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access (EOWA) project forward, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) issued the following statement:

“The Elgin-O’Hare Western Access project is vital to our regional, state and national transportation network and we are pleased that the Illinois Tollway Authority, Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railway have finally come together to take this critical step today. Thanks to this project, thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans will be created and the region will be better positioned to compete in our modern economy.”

Once completed, the Elgin-O’Hare Western Access corridor will help grow the regional economy and serve national transportation priorities by connecting one of Chicagoland’s largest industrial and manufacturing areas with O’Hare International Airport. The north-south corridor linking I-90 and I-294 will also provide direct access for goods and passengers traveling to-and-from the airport, creating additional thruway capacity, reducing travel times and lowering fuel costs for both businesses and individuals. The project, combined with the surrounding development, is expected to create as many as 65,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2040. Increased connectivity with other modes of transportation and dramatic reductions in congestion and delays is expected to save drivers $145 million annually in time and fuel costs.

Duckworth has been a vocal advocate for the EOWA during her time in the U.S. House of Representatives and now as a U.S. Senator. In 2016, as the lead Democratic Ranking Member of the House Transportation Oversight Subcommittee, Duckworth sent a letter urging regulators to exercise oversight to ensure plans to complete the project can move forward.

In February 2017, Durbin led a bipartisan group of Illinois Congressional leaders in urging the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) to support the Tollway in its dispute with Canadian Pacific Railway over the EOWA project.  And in March 2017, Durbin, Krishnamoorthi, and other members of the Illinois Congressional delegation met with Illinois Tollway Chairman Bob Schillerstrom to express their support for the Tollway’s petition to the STB regarding the EOWA project. 

Krishnamoorthi has made the completion of EOWA his top priority in Congress. In his first year in office, he convened local leaders to encourage both Canadian Pacific and the Tollway to continue their negotiations and find a solution that benefits both parties as well as the local community. He has also led leaders in the area in urging regulators to speed approval of the plan and met numerous times with officials from both Canadian Pacific and the Tollway to ensure that an agreement could be reached.

Quigley has been actively engaged in the resolution of the EOWA project. Located in the Fifth District, O’Hare is a vital economic driver for the entire region. As the only Illinois Member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley also serves on the Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee and has been committed to ensuring efficient and unfettered access to the airport for all the communities it serves.