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Chicago - Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Environmental Assessment and Service Development Plan

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and in partnership with Amtrak, are conducting an Environmental Assessment and Service Development Plan for service improvements on the Amtrak Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee. The proposed service improvements include:

  • Increasing daily Amtrak Hiawatha Service frequencies from the current seven round-trips to 10 round-trips
  • Reducing travel times, potentially through an increase in maximum speed to 90 MPH between Rondout, Illinois, and the General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA)

Environmental Assessment

The Chicago-Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Service Environmental Assessment (EA) is now available for review.

The purpose of the Chicago-Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Service EA is to provide the FRA, WisDOT, IDOT, local governments and the public with a full understanding of the service-wide environmental impacts associated with the alternatives developed to meet the project’s purpose and need.

The EA is developed to comply with federal environmental laws and regulations (National Environmental Policy Act) and Wisconsin and Illinois state environmental laws and regulations.

Service Development Plan

Map of the corridor

 Map of the corridor

The Service Development Plan (SDP) is prepared during the planning phase for intercity passenger rail programs. The SDP lays out the overall scope and approach of the proposed service. The Service Development Plan will be made available to the public for review in late 2016 on this webpage.​​ 

Among the primary objectives of the SDP are:

  • To clearly demonstrate the purpose and need for the proposed intercity passenger rail improvements.
  • To describe the analysis of alternatives for the proposed intercity passenger rail improvements.
  • To demonstrate the operations and financial feasibility of the proposed intercity passenger rail improvements.
  • To identify the specific capital improvements necessary to support the additional frequencies. The environmental impacts of the improvements will be analyzed in the EA.

Public involvement

Three public meetings will be held for the project, including one public hearing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a public involvement meeting in Chicago, Illinois, and a public involvement meeting in Glenview, Illinois. Specific meeting dates, times, and locations are scheduled as follows:

The meetings will provide an opportunity to learn more about the project, provide comments, and ask questions of members of the project team. The Environmental Assessment indicates that no significant environmental impacts are anticipated to occur as a result of this proposal.

Input encouraged

The official comment period is from October 6, 2016 to November 15, 2016. In addition to the meetings listed above, comments or questions about the study can be submitted at any time during the Environmental Assessment process by:

  • Email:
  • Mail:    Arun Rao
               Passenger Rail Manager
               Wisconsin Department of Transportation
               4802 Sheboygan Ave. Rm 701
               Madison, WI 53707
  • Phone: (608) 261-6123

Hard copies available

The Environmental Assessment is available for inspection and copying at the following locations:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Library
Office of Policy, Finance and Improvement
4802 Sheboygan Ave. Room 100A
Madison, WI 53707

Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706

Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
1 East Main Street, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703

Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
W239 N1812 Rockwood Drive
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607

Milwaukee Public Library
814 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Racine Public Library
Reference Desk
75 Seventh Street
Racine, WI 53403

Kenosha Public Library
Reference Services Desk
812 56th Street
Kenosha, WI 53140

Harold Washington Library Center
400 State St.
Chicago, IL 60605

Glenview Public Library
1930 Glenview Rd
Glenview, IL 60025

Illinois Department of Transportation
69 W. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60605

  • Contact us
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    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC 20590
  • Regional Offices