Chicago - Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor

Hiawatha logoEnvironmental 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 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 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.

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.