Leaders from Oswego, Montgomery and Aurora met with Metra boss Alex Clifford for about 45 minutes Tuesday morning to discuss the timeline of a possible train station at Orchard and Mill roads.
Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq said the meeting was productive in that Metra revealed the Phase I engineering study likely will be put out for bid by May. That study has an estimated price tag of $6 million. Money has yet to be released by the Metra board, but that could happen in February or March. The preliminary work will focus on environmental and operational issues, LeClercq said.
“The fact of the matter is that Metra is strapped for cash, and I think the commitment to do the study shows some progress,” LeClercq said. “But these things do take time.”
An Oswego commuter station has been a topic of discussion for many years. It could be another 10 and 15 years away, and likely will cost more than $120 million.
The issue also was discussed at Tuesday night's Oswego Village Board meeting. Trustee Terry Michels pressed LeClercq on the reality of a Metra stop ever being built in Oswego.
"I don't want to mislead the public on a timeline for this," he said.
LeClercq said he will do his best to keep the board and community updated on the progress being made on a potential stop.
Montgomery Village President Marilyn Michelini said the meeting served its purpose—it got everone on the same page. She said she did raise the topic of a similar station in Montgomery, which she believes may be more attractive since the Kane County portion of the village is already a part of the Regional Transportation Authority.
However, she said, Oswego is farther along in the process, since they have a Park and Ride facility already. Village leaders would like to locate a Park and Ride and a Metra station on Lyon Metal Works property on River Street, but Michelini said that would also require the cooperation of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, which owns the tracks.
"I'm appreciative of the fact that we had the meeting, that we were all included, and we all understand what their plans are," Michelini said.
LeClercq also said Oswego is still moving forward with a second rail option—to become a stop on Amtrak’s Chicago-Quad Cities line. That project was not discussed in Tuesday's meeting with Metra, he said.
An Amtrak stop in Oswego could be completed within three years, and cost between $6 million to $10 million, since it would not require laying additional rails.
Amtrak is looking to provide service between Chicago and the Quad Cities in 2014. Congressman Randy Hultgren, R-14th District, who sits on the House Transportation Committee and Rail Subcommittee, said he is hoping to include funding in an impending transportation bill.