Hundreds of trains fly through the suburbs only to crawl into Chicago's Union Station because of limited capacity at the historical terminal.
To speed up the journey, the two rail agencies, the city of Chicago and a slew of lawmakers promised $7 million Friday to study and plan a fix for the train bottleneck.
The station handles 300 trains and nearly 125,000 riders daily.
The terminal planning study and service development plan are expected to coordinate routes and operations better, increase capacity for trains and improve passenger conditions.
Amtrak is already spending about $12 million on station renovations, but $500 million is needed for a complete overhaul, officials said.
"We'll be easing rail congestion outside the station and laying the groundwork for a vast improvement of the passenger experience inside the station," Sen. Dick Durbin said in a release.
The Federal Railroad administration is providing $3 million and the state is kicking in $2 million, while Metra and the city of Chicago are contributing $1 million each.
Union Station handles Metra routes such as the BNSF, North Central Service and Milwaukee lines.