EDGEWATER — Five years after a new Metra stop in Edgewater was announced, the state budget includes some "potentially very good news" for Far North Side commuters — $15 million for the long-awaited stop.
The project had been funded through the Build Illinois Bond Fund, but put on hold and de-funded during the budget impasse that began in 2015.
Now $15 million, "or so much thereof as may be necessary," is set to be allocated through the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the creation of a grant that will go toward the station at Peterson Avenue, according to the budget. The section also says it will require approval from Gov. Bruce Rauner.
But a spokesman for Metra said wheels on the project are not yet in motion until more details can be learned regarding the reallocation of money.
"We can't move on anything until ... everything is guaranteed," the spokrsman said. "It would be great [but] we're still awaiting further clarity from IDOT."
Last month, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), who acquired $10 million for the project while still a state representative, said the "money was still sitting there" despite the development being "ready to go."
The station is slated for construction at Ravenswood and Peterson avenues, but Peterson's designation as a state highway (U.S. 14) 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.
Earlier this year, 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.
Officials first confirmed the project was being planned in 2012 and in 2013 revealed station renderings, which call for a commuter platform and warming areas. Since then it has been delayed.
The station will be the fourth overall stop on the Union Pacific North line coming from Ogilvie Transportation Center in the West Loop. As of now, non-express trains stop at Clybourn, Ravenswood and Rogers Park within the city.