February 27, 2019

In First Hearing as Ranking Member of Transportation & Safety Subcommittee, Duckworth Highlights Need to Improve Infrastructure & Reduce Bottlenecks in Chicagoland

CMAP Executive Director Joe Szabo testified about reducing transportation bottlenecks in Chicagoland & Midwest


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) held her first hearing as the new Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety about improving safety and reliability of our nation’s freight transportation system and intermodal connections. The hearing, which featured testimony from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Executive Director Joe Szabo on reducing freight congestion in the Chicagoland region and elsewhere, was the first in a series of hearings the Subcommittee will hold to prepare for the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill. Video of Duckworth’s opening remarks is available here and video of her questions during the hearing is available here.

“I am excited to hold my first hearing as the Ranking Member on the Transportation and Safety Subcommittee and am looking forward to working with Chairman Fischer to address the nation’s growing infrastructure needs, including ways to improve our nation’s freight transportation network,” Duckworth said. “The Chicagoland region is the busiest rail hub in the nation, but unfortunately we in Illinois know that the region’s rail infrastructure – built more than a century ago – has not kept pace with demand. The federal government must be a strong partner to spearhead freight projects from which we all benefit.”

Duckworth highlighted how improving freight and intermodal infrastructure boosts our economic efficiency and global competitiveness. The Senator also touted her support for the CREATE program, which is modernizing our region’s rail infrastructure to benefit the national economy. Last year, Duckworth helped secure a $132 million grant for the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project in Illinois to improve reliability at one of the worst bottlenecks in Chicago, enhance safety and bring hundreds of jobs to the South Side of Chicago. Duckworth also solicited ideas from the panelists about how to relieve traffic in the most congested areas of the nation, like the Circle Interchange where the Dan Ryan and Kennedy meets the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago.

The Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety has jurisdiction over America’s freight and passenger network and pipeline safety. It has oversight of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Surface Transportation Board, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.