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Meeting with Metra Reveals Study Timeline

Leaders from Oswego, Montgomery and Aurora met with Metra CEO Alex Clifford Tuesday.

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 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.

Pat Stiles January 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I was there also and the 1% is going to be a big factor in a county where taxes are running people out of here. Montgomery is a part of the RTA and Kane county already. What this train station is going to do for Oswego I don't understand. There are bigger issues to tackle. I also was there when the microbrewery resolution passed. I get that bringing business to fill vacant buildings is a plus but the Fire District owns the building so the lease money goes to them.I didn't realize that the fire district are now landlords, for profit. I do agree with George he hit it on the head.
George Jones January 26, 2012 at 09:34 PM
1 Taxes Pat, I don't know if I Hit the Nail on the Head ... but I think I Derailed the Costly Metra Train headed for Oswego that the Village President is still leading the cheers for. I'll split up my reply in 2 parts ... Taxes and Jobs. There were several concerns on the developer's request for Rezoning M1 Industrial Land north of the Park-N-Ride to R4 High Density Apartments with 20 acres (A Cost Of Est. $5,000,000 To Oswego Taxpayers For This 20 Acres of Land) to put a humongous 2,000 car Parking Lot and Metra Station. Less than 1/3% of Oswego Residents ride the Metra from Aurora now. So is Metra in Oswego a Non Essential & Costly Government Service? You bet it is. About 99% of taxpayers would have to pay higher taxes to subsidize a few Oswego Metra riders. Our property taxes in Oswego would go up since Oswego would have to pay for the 20 acres and a new station .... about $10,000,000. Then to subsidize Metra operations, there is the additional 1% Sales Tax Kendall County residents would have to pay as a RTA / Metra Transportation System Collar County Member. Kendall County Property Tax Rates are EXTREMELY HIGH already & in THE TOP 1% of all U.S. Counties. http://www.tax-rates.org/illinois/kendall_county_property_tax So, do I seek higher property taxes here? NO NO NO! As shown in the above PDF. Each Village of Oswego Household pays nearly $1,338 in taxes (sales / income / utility / property / etc). So, do I want to see that climb to $2,000? NO NO NO?
George Jones January 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM
2 Jobs The Village of Oswego Comprehensive Plan has about 350 Acres of Land zoned M1 Industrial / Lite Manufacturing & High Tech & Commercial Offices. This is less than 1% of land in Oswego ... it's very valuable. This is not land for Retail Stores (B Zone) nor Residential Homes / Condos / Apartments (R Zone) ... THIS IS LAND FOR JOBS! In their rezoning request the developer sought to rezone the land to R4 High Density Residential Apartments and take this land away for any potential hope for the Village of Oswego to bring in new High Paying Manufacturing / High tech Jobs. Out of the 350 Acres we have in M1 we would have lost eventually about 40% of that land which could result in 500 to 1500 additional jobs never coming into the Village of Oswego. As noted in the above PDF, in Kendall County we have about 6000 persons unemployed and about 1500 - 1600 in the Village of Oswego. Manufacturing Jobs have a HIGH JOB MULTIPLIER EFFECT of about 3. This means each Manufacturing Job is responsible for helping to pave the way for 2 more jobs ... be they suppliers, waiters in a restaurant, a Jewel checkout clerk, a auto mechanic, an insurance salesman etc. If Village of Oswego residents need to get to Aurora to get on Metra ... they can drive there (about 17 minutes) or take the Pace Bus at the Oswego Park-N-Ride. So, please don't try to convince me to pay more taxes to bring Metra to Oswego. If our Village President does his job ... we can get Amtrak here in 2014.
Logansdad February 02, 2012 at 07:58 PM
If Oswego residents need to get to get on Metra, they can drive there. That is the wrong attitude to have. If we applied that same thinking to shopping, none of the shopping along Orchard Rd or Route 34 would have been built 10 years ago. Oswego residents could have driven to Route 59 for all their shopping needs. Kendall county needs public transportation. There is no option for people to get around Oswego other than by use of a car. The roads through Oswego are filled with pot holes and are very congested. Metra and bus service will help allievate some of this congestion. As far as taxes go, tell the village to stop building schools. There are many people in Oswego that don't have children but yet we have to pay taxes to build schools for the children.
Tom Pence February 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM
If the Metra station comes will more business follow? Seems likely to me

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