Renovation announced for Chicago’s Union Station

Union Station will get an expanded lobby and other improvements with an ARRA-funded renovation. (Art source: Midwest High Speed Rail Association.)

Chicago’s Union Station will be getting what many see as a long-needed renovation to accommodate heavy traffic.
Amtrak Board Chairman Tom Carper and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced a $40 million capital construction project for the iconic downtown train hub, which will double the size of the passenger waiting area, add new restrooms and air conditioning to the “Great Hall”.

How the House stimulus bill would help green your house

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The $819 billion economic stimulus plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday has been criticized for containing too many short-term measures aimed at stimulating the flagging economy – or too few; for being too focused on green infrastructure – or not focused enough.

Those arguments aside, there are many provisions in the House bill that passed Wednesday that will help individuals and their communities save money and energy, and in doing so, take a swipe at global warming.

“The House bill adopted (yesterday) would make increased energy efficiency a hallmark of the nation’s economic recovery with the infusion of federal funds for efficiency initiatives throughout the economy – to consumers, to businesses, to state and local governments, and more,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the advocacy group, Alliance to Save Energy.

According to the Alliance, which has sifted through the massive bill to pull out the energy-saving components, there are several meaningful ways money will flow from D.C. to help green America. Many of these measures also will create spending, for example, by offering consumers incentives to buy hybrid cars and newer furnaces.

Stimulating green ideas

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The stimulus package pending in Congress promises to create jobs, but how green these plans will be is cause for concern and debate.

While environmental advocates are glad to gleeful over the promise of the new administration, they still have questions: Will the focus on energy security overshadow other green moves? Will the sagging economy, which has claimed jobs at solar and wind energy companies just as it has in traditional industries, preempt plans to curb global warming?

While few quibble with emergency assistance to “Main Street,” those with visions of a bright green future worry that funds could be spent before a more orchestrated plan to marry jobs and green initiatives can be developed.