Evolution and Financing of Chicago’s CREATE Program

For more than a century, Chicago has served as America’s rail hub.  Beginning in the 1850’s, trade across the nation shifted from North-South to East-West; Chicago was thus created to serve as a nexus for goods movement between the coasts.The railroad’s predominance in Chicago essentially created the city, and it has been a bulwark of the Chicago economy every since. This paper addresses the Chicago region’s response to the growing demand and congestion of freight rail through the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE). Specifically, I discuss the evolution of the CREATE program; the cost-benefit analysis and recommendations for a model that allocates costs equitably; and the current funding structure and recommendations for future financing.

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