Metra system officials committed Friday to helping Chicago with public transit needs, even considering borrowing train cars from other commuter rail systems to help transport the thousands of tourists expected should Chicago host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The Metra system serves 230 stations.
According to the Daily Herald the show of support came after a presentation by Doug Arnot, Chicago 2016 Director of Sports, Venues and Operations. Arnot told the Metra board at its meeting Friday that the bid committee picked venue sites based on the city’s transportation infrastructure, but that additional trains could be necessary to transport the volume of riders anticipated during the Games, said a Metra spokesman.
Most sports events would be held in the city although the equestrian and shooting competitions would take place at venues in Lake County and near Aurora. But the surge of visitors is expected to benefit suburban motels and hotels, as well as those in Chicago.
The bid committee estimates Metra will need an additional 20 engines and 68 more cars to accommodate Olympic crowds, according to the committee’s bid book. The city touted the region’s public transit system in the bid book, and stated that two or more rail lines serve 90 per cent of events, reports the Daily Herald.
Metra also announced Friday that the low cost of diesel fuel could amount to savings of $45 million to $50 million if prices hold.