By Bob Skolnik
With the Democrats regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives this year for the first time since 2010, Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) has been named the chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
In his role as subcommittee chairman, Lipinski hopes to use his newfound power and influence to steer some additional dollars to Metra so it can upgrade locomotives and passenger cars on its problem-plagued Burlington Northern-Santa Fe line.
"I'm hopeful that we will do an infrastructure bill, hopefully this spring," Lipinski said. "We certainly need money for a lot of transportation infrastructure, and public transit especially is in need of funding. Metra has significant issues with how old their locomotives are. And their rail cars, if they could get new ones, then that could certainly help with service."
There are a host of issues that Lipinski said that he wants to work on.
"I especially look forward to conducting oversight on matters my constituents and others are concerned about, including commuter rail on-time performance, noise pollution, railroad property upkeep in our communities, and reducing blocked crossings, among other issues," Lipinski said.