Illinois' two U.S. senators say they're supporting a proposal by Argonne National Laboratory to conduct new federal research into mass transit safety.
Argonne wants to lead a program that would examine how well mass transit systems plan for and respond to emergencies.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk say a lack of evacuation planning and coordination among transit systems could be catastrophic, especially in the event of a mass evacuation.
They wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, encouraging him to consider Lemont-based Argonne's proposal.
They say the Chicago area's integrated mass transit systems "will serve as a test bed" for tools that could benefit transit systems across the nation.
Regional transit and state transportation agencies have agreed to participate in the project.