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Metra STAR Line

Land Use Planning - Northwest Corridor
Northwest Transit Corridor Study Background
Outer Circumferential Service (EJ&E Study) Background
Steering Committee Agendas and Minutes

The Northwest Municipal Conference is proud to be leading a coalition of local governments in efforts to establish a new and completely different commuter rail service in the Chicago region. Building upon the successful launch of the Metra North Central Service in 1995, we are employing the same cooperative planning model to work with municipalities along both the Northwest Corridor (NWC) and Elgin, Joliet and Eastern (EJ&E) railroad corridor to make the proposed Metra STAR Line a reality. Because of the larger regional scope of this project, we are pleased to be working in partnership with the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, the Kane County Council of Mayors, the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and the Will County Governmental League.

Metra STAR Line DMUMetra's STAR Line would utilize diesel multiple units (DMUs), a new fuel efficient technology that allows flexible operations similar to light rail systems.

What is the STAR Line?

The Metra STAR (Suburban Transit Access Route) Line will provide a new dynamic of mobility for residents, workers and visitors in our region. Introduced by Metra in January 2003, the STAR Line will become the first commuter rail line in northeastern Illinois designed specifically to address suburb-to-suburb commutes. Instead of serving as a route to downtown Chicago like other traditional commuter services, the STAR Line utilizes the EJ&E railroad corridor to provide north-south service to a direct connection to the northwest suburbs and other existing Metra commuter lines.

The STAR Line connects the Northwest Corridor, an existing residential and employment center, with the rapidly growing corridor along western Cook, DuPage, and northwest Will counties. Running along the Northwest Tollway from O’Hare Airport west to the Prairie Stone development in Hoffman Estates, the STAR Line will provide a direct connection between Arlington Heights, Chicago, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Rosemont and Schaumburg. From Hoffman Estates, the STAR Line will follow the EJ&E south to directly connect Aurora, Bartlett, Elgin, Joliet, Naperville, Plainfield, and West Chicago with the Northwest Corridor. The STAR Line also provides the opportunity for future expansions along the EJ&E into the growing south suburbs in Cook and Will counties and the north suburbs in Lake County, thus making it the first truly regional transit system for the suburbs.

Adobe Logo Map of Metra STAR Line Route

Planning for the Future

Meacham BannerThe STAR Line creates a number of exciting opportunities for municipalities to strongly tie land use and economic development to this major transportation investment. Planning efforts along both the EJ&E and NWC are focused upon how communities can introduce transit supportive development at proposed station locations. Transit supportive development along the STAR Line will be a major component of directing future growth towards already developed areas, thus alleviating the forces of "sprawl". Communities are already planning for a concentration of residential, office, light industrial and commercial development that can serve as both origins and destinations for riders of the STAR Line. The NWC land use planning effort is nearly completed and some of the results are highlighted in the link on your right. The results of the EJ&E land use planning effort will be posted here as it nears completion.

The cost of the STAR Line is estimated at $1.1 billion. U. S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert has recently identified the STAR Line as his top transit funding priority. Through this planning effort, communities will work closely with Metra to secure the full amount of funding from federal, state and local resources needed to complete the construction of this vital project for the future of northeastern Illinois region.