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Metra Officials Agree to Oswego Meeting

Aug 18, 2015 04:53PM ● By Steven Jack
Metra Board Chairman Martin Oberman will appear at Oswego Village Hall next week to discuss the future of commuter rail service in Kendall County.

Oswego Village President Gail Johnson confirmed Tuesday Oberman recently agreed to meet with the Kendall County Metra task force made up of five local mayors and Kendall County Board member Scott Gryder, and the meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25 at Oswego Village Hall.

The meeting will not be open to the public, but Johnson said a press conference likely will be held at Village Hall after it concludes at about 11:30 a.m.

"This is a conversation that we're very excited to have," Johnson said. "This will be the first time in a couple of years where we'll be able to get answers to our questions."

Johnson said the meeting will focus on the various studies that have been ordered regarding service in Kendall County and the federal funding set aside for those studies. 

"If we can get some definitive answers on where they stand, that’s huge," she said. "… I think if they start looking at our population projections they won’t be able to ignore Kendall County in the long run."

Johnson said the meeting was secured after several Kendall County officials called Metra to request a status update. Metra was scheduled to hold private internal meetings regarding Kendall County service earlier this month. 

Most recently the village acquired 15 acres of land needed for an Oswego station near Orchard and Mill roads. Last year Metra approved another $557,000 to continue its feasibility study for Kendall County service, including potential stops in Montgomery, Yorkville and Plano. 

The latest study is on top of about $2.5 million in feasibility work that has been conducted since a 2003 $7.5 million federal funding earmark secured by then Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Accounting for the funds already spent from the earmark, that leaves about $4.5 million to finally complete the feasibility study.

Johnson acknowledged in June that a Kendall County stop had “fallen off Metra’s radar” in recent years. Further, she said Metra officials were not even aware of the village’s acquisition of the land at Orchard and Mill, which occurred in March.