Racine takes steps to revive KRM commuter line

Racine takes steps to revive KRM commuter line

The city of Racine last week took another step to revive the 33-mile Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter rail project.

The Racine Common Council on April 15 passed a resolution for the mayor and city clerk to enter into a contract with rail provider DB E.C.O. North America Inc. to study possible passenger train infrastructure along the existing Union Pacific line along Lake Michigan. An iteration of the KRM project was proposed more than a decade ago, but the plan died in 2011.

The project could return with partnerships with the private sector and the development community, said Trevor Jung, the city’s mobility coordinator and project leader.

“For us, this is not about politics. This is about making your community a stronger place,” said Jung.

The city hasn’t finalized the contract, but officials expect the study will be completed by spring of 2025. It’s spurred by a $5 million congressional grant as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Racine passed a measure for federal investment in 2021.

The project would serve around 25% of the state’s population concentrated in southeast Wisconsin, Jung noted. Racine is in the third-largest economic region in the U.S., he added.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC), the KRM passenger rail would provide access to over 400,000 jobs within 30 minutes by transit. Nearly 50% of households in the corridor would have incomes less than $50,000, planners added.

“That’s not even including the jobs created by building the system,” Jung said. “This would be just about once the system is built and the access workers will have to jobs in the corridor.”

Project planners estimate the track will need up to 10 stations, along with other technical support needed for trains, track and rail infrastructure...


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- - Volume: 24 - WEEK: 17 Date: 4/24/2024 3:10:19 PM -