By Economic Development Research Group for METRA, 2003
Chicago's commuter rail agency, METRA has been planning for several possible future system expansion projects. These projects differed in terms of their investment needs associated with new stations, tracks and train sets. To understand the full benefits of these projects, METRA engaged Economic Development Research Group to assess economic impacts pf three service expansion proposals and one proposal for new commuter service.
The analyses focused on the immediate economic conserquences of constructing new right-of-way, structures and facilities. It examined the direct and indirect job, income and business output consequences of this spending for the six-county metro-area, the state of Illinois, and at the national level. Tax revenue generation impacts were estimated for the state and the U.S.
Additional long-term benefits related to reduced traffic congestion and reduced delays along rail lines with shared commuter and freight movements were not examined at this stage in the project.