EDGEWATER — Despite having the proper funding and plans to build a new Metra station on the Far North Side, officials say the project is still on hold with no immediate development in sight.
At the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce's annual State of Edgewater event Tuesday morning, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said although he acquired $10 million in financial support for the project while he was still a representative in the Illinois legislature, the lack of a state budget continues to delay the station.
The station is slated for construction at Ravenswood and Peterson avenues, however, it's Peterson's designation as a state highway (U.S. Route 14) that requires work on the road be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation. That component has ensnared the entire project in the state budget impasse, Osterman said.
"The money is still sitting there and the design is ready to go," Osterman told community members. "It's the political infighting in Springfield that is keeping it on the drawing board."
Osterman said he wasn't sure "what [Gov. Bruce Rauner's] strategy is," but laid blame on the Republican governor for "holding everything up." State lawmakers have failed to pass a comprehensive budget since Rauner took office in 2015.
That year officials announced construction on the station would be pushed back to 2016 with a target opening of 2017.
In February, Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th), who shares territory with Osterman on the potential station's location, told residents he was "still hopeful" the project would come to fruition and had urged local representatives to ensure the station was included in an eventual budget.
Osterman echoed those hopes Tuesday, but also acknowledged his "hands are tied" when it came to certain projects that require coordination with the state capital.