Illinois’ CREATE program means new jobs

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced Union Pacific and the Illinois Department of Transportation are investing in Metra's West Line as part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program.

The CREATE program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation, Illinois, Chicago, Amtrak, Metra and U.S. freight railroads, according to the website. The goals of the program are to improve rail service in Illinois, reduce rail traffic congestion, promote economic development and create new jobs.

The $90 million investment will go toward constructing a new third line track for the UP/Metra's West Line between River Forest and Melrose Park as well as between West Chicago and Geneva. Once the third line is completed, the 59 Metra trains and 70 freight trains that use the line every day will be able to operate at the same time.

A part of the investment will come from the state of Illinois' Jobs Now! Program, which is the largest construction program in the state's history, and currently one of the largest construction programs in the U.S.

"Today we are investing in jobs that will help solidify Illinois' status as the premier rail center of the nation," Quinn said. "This final piece of the West Line improvement program will enhance commuter and freight travel on one of our state's busiest rail lines."

The CREATE program has completed 21 projects and generated more than 10,000 jobs in Illinois. Some of the other CREATE projects that have been finished include building a rail overpass, updating two rail passenger stations and adding pedestrian tunnels in Bellwood and Berkeley, Illinois, as well as track and signal improvements along the UP/Metra West line.

Businesses aligned with the CREATE or other job-creating programs should work with Chicago recruiters to find the most qualified candidates for their open positions.