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The Associated Press March 8, 2011, 10:59AM ET

Another Ill. step toward creating new Metra line

Another step has been taken toward building a $778 million commuter-train line that would link nearly 20 suburban communities to downtown Chicago.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill Monday that creates the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District.

The district will be overseen by officials in communities along the future line. They'll be able to use the new entity to apply for funds to help make the Metra-affiliated SouthEast Service Line a reality.

The project was authorized in 2005 and a final proposal's due this year.

Once completed, the line would connect 33 miles between Crete's Balmoral Park and downtown Chicago's LaSalle Street Station. Locations along the line would include a Ford Motor Co. plant on Chicago's South Side and U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.

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