Dear Business Leader,
As business leaders in the Chicago region we have the unique opportunity to enhance our labor pool, provide safe and reliable transportation for our employees, and streamline transportation between downtown Chicago and the southeast suburbs. The SouthEast Service is proposed to stop in the communities of Crete, Steger, South Chicago Heights, Chicago Heights, Glenwood, Thornton, South Holland, Dolton, and Chicago's LaSalle Street Station. The SouthEast Service will serve communities in Suburban Cook, Will County and Indiana. The SouthEast Service is part of Metra's New Start program, which received approval for funding consideration through the federal transportation bill SAFETEA-LU.
With new investment in our transportation system, opportunities for our businesses and employees will expand. This new service will provide a commuting option for a growing and underserved corridor in the southeast suburbs. Improving the connection between the southeast suburbs and the city of Chicago will increase access to jobs, labor, shopping, and entertainment for residents and businesses of the entire corridor. As growth in this corridor continues, we need to attract new employment opportunities as well as provide safe, convenient, and efficient transportation options for our employees.
The SouthEast Service Business Alliance (SESBA) offers the business community an opportunity to help shape growth in our region. As business leaders in the SouthEast Service corridor, we are uniquely positioned to assist Metra to make the SouthEast Service a reality. To secure funding for construction of the SouthEast Service Metra, will follow a multi-year federal process that requires studying the corridor and working with various local, state and federal agencies. The goals of SESBA are to demonstrate broad business and community support for Metra and to provide a consolidated and coordinated voice for the business community throughout the project.As Co-Chairs of the SouthEast Service Business Alliance, we ask you to join us in our commitment to assist Metra throughout the federal approval process. A brief outline of what this commitment would entail follows:
- Employee Survey Participation: Metra will develop ridership forecasts for the new SouthEast Service, and a survey of your employees will provide additional information for formulating those ridership numbers. Metra will generate a survey tool, likely in an electronic format, which Business Alliance members can post on internal Web sites to encourage employee participation.
- Organize State & Federal Legislative Support: As the process moves forward, Metra will request letters of support from Business Alliance members who see great value in the SouthEast Service's benefits to our region. Your voice as a local business leader will resonate loudly in Washington and Springfield, helping Metra secure the support it needs from your legislators. There will also be an opportunity for highly-engaged business leaders to join Metra in providing testimony before appropriation and transit-focused legislative panels. The Business Alliance will provide email updates and from time to time issue "Action" calls.
- Linkage Coordination: Metra will need to work hand-in-hand with employers and bus service providers to modify transportation networks to allow for the transport of commuters from a SouthEast Service station to their ultimate destination. This will entail a commitment by businesses and property managers to consider transit-oriented development for their businesses as they plan future improvements and rehabilitate existing facilities.
- Land Use Planning: Federal requirements for funding approval include policies and plans that foster transit supportive land use which in turn support the proposed transit investments. The Business Alliance will work in partnership with the municipalities to complete the planning process for future development within the proposed station areas. The SESBA will support and encourage public private partnerships with communities to develop transit-oriented station area developments.
Your involvement in this endeavor is crucial, and we ask you to click on the link below in order to fill out a form if your company is willing to become part of the SouthEast Service Business Alliance.
Best to you,
SouthEast Service Business Alliance Co-Chair
SouthEast Service Business Alliance Co-Chair