Loop renovation plan a much-needed investment

By Editorial Board

In the midst of tough economic times, the last thing Americans want to hear about is another long-winded infrastructure plan with a hefty price tag. But, for Chicago, a plan like this might not be so bad.

On April 24, the Chicago Tribune  reported that a major downtown revitalization agenda is in the works, costing the city $15.5 billion. Known as the Chicago Central Area Action Plan, the proposed plan has visions to improve transportation, parks and commercial space throughout the Loop.

While the price might be hard to swallow, the most beneficial part of this plan is that most of the money—approximately $14.2 billion—would go to fixing one of Chicago’s biggest headaches—our slow and (too often) problematic public transportation system. It’s hard to argue with a proposal that would fix something so many Chicagoans depend on daily, especially those who commute to the Loop, which is a major hub for the city.

Another major project would include building a $2 billion West Loop Transportation Center under Clinton Street, connecting Union Station and the Ogilvie Metra stations.

While something like this would definitely help in reviving the once-struggling West Loop area, building this transportation center would also help out in relieving some traffic at Union Station and the hassle of getting there.

Despite its benefits, one of the biggest coincidences of the CCAAP is that it has a proposed completion date of 2016, just in time for the Olympics if Chicago is chosen to host the games.

So, what happens if we don’t end up being the host city we’ve dreamed of for the past few years? It would be a shame if a huge project like this—something that has potential to benefit millions of people—would be put on hold simply because we won’t be hosting the Olympics.

Though there are some definite issues to be ironed out, investing in a solid plan like this would not only solidify Chicago’s status as the third-largest city in America, but it would bring Chicago to the forefront as a leader of national travel.

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