At a meeting last week involving Metra and suburban Chicago city leaders, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, told the carrier that it needed to step up its performance.
“Too often, Metra riders are not getting the service that they deserve,” Lipinski said in a news release. “I said in a town hall I held in December to address problems on the BNSF line that 2019 needs to be a better year for all Metra riders. Metra is still coming up frustratingly short. It is time to stop passing the buck and find solutions.”
Metra struggled with a technology outage involving Amtrak at Union Station in February, which prompted the April 16 meeting, according to the Joliet Herald News.
As the most senior member from Illinois on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the representative of a district that is home to more miles of train tracks than any other – in addition to the fact that I live less than a mile from a line that carries about 150 trains a day (some carrying Bakken oil) – I am concerned by the recent number of railroad accidents.
This has spurred me to take an even greater role in finding solutions that will keep our communities safe.
Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, is poised to become the highest-ranking Democrat on a House subcommittee on railroads at a time when issues involving Metra and Amtrak will be barreling down the track next year.
His Southwest Side turf has more rail lines than any congressional district in the country, or so he claims. “No one has disputed that,” Lipinski said. “It’s just critically important to this area.” His father and predecessor as congressman, William Lipinski, also served as the senior Democrat on the rail panel.