WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–December 12, 2011. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL) joined Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Tom Hoechst of Alton today in announcing that Illinois will receive a total of $44,288,000 in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant funding for three Illinois projects in the Chicagoland area and Alton. The grants represent approximately 8 percent of total funding available through the program.
“Two years ago, I worked in the Senate to develop the TIGER grant program which gives local communities and mayors the ability to apply directly to the federal government to fund projects that they identify as having a positive economic impact on their community,” said Durbin. “Illinois has benefitted greatly from the TIGER grant program due to the hard work of local officials and organizations in close coordination with the state and federal government. These investments will create hundreds of good-paying jobs across our state.”
Today’s announcement follows Governor Quinn’s recent trip to Washington D.C. to meet with the state congressional delegation where they discussed avenues where Illinois and the federal government can work more closely together to benefit the state’s 13 million residents: “This investment is just one of the many results of the outstanding cooperation between local, state, and the federal government that will keep Illinois strong,” said Governor Quinn. “This funding will strengthen our state’s transportation system that is vital to growing our economy and creating jobs. I want to thank Sen. Durbin and Rep. Costello for their continued leadership in Washington on behalf of Illinois.”
“This is an important regional and national project that will make our transportation system more efficient and fully leverage the impact of high speed rail,” said Costello. “Linking together all of our modes – rail, highways, waterways and aviation – is critical for economic development and job creation. The City of Alton and the entire bi-state region is perfectly located to be a transportation hub and this funding will further these goals. I have worked closely with city officials and Secretary LaHood on this project, and I will continue to support efforts to modernize our transportation infrastructure.”
The following projects will receive funding under today’s announcement:
$20,000,000 – Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line/Chicago Bike Share Program
Today’s TIGER grant funding for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will help complete a project to repair 3.6 miles of track on the CTA’s Blue Line between Damen Avenue and Belmont Avenue finishing all track improvements between Chicago’s Downtown Loop and O’Hare International Airport. The TIGER grant will also help jumpstart Chicago’s planned bike-sharing program. This project targets deteriorated track in the remaining area of the Blue Line between the Loop and O’Hare Airport which has not yet been completed. It will alleviate CTA maintenance and operating costs, improve the deteriorated infrastructure and allow for shorter headways between trains. The bike-share program will give Chicagoans access to bike-share facilities at and around CTA bus and rail stations, giving travelers another option to get to their final destination.
“Chicago is a city on the move,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Revitalizing and modernizing our infrastructure is critical to creating jobs, maintaining our competitiveness, and enhancing the quality of life of residents throughout the city. I want to thank Senator Durbin, Representative Luis Gutierrez and the Illinois delegation for their support and recognizing that this TIGER grant will help ensure we provide a solid foundation for the city’s future.”
Chicago is the only city in America that provides direct rail transit to two major airports. Together, O’Hare and Midway International Airports are the economic engine of the Chicago region, generating 540,000 jobs and $45 billion dollars annually in economic activity. There are more than 1,500 Department of Aviation employees at both airports and about 45,000 airport employees. There are 85 million annual passengers traveling through O’Hare and Midway with 1.13 million annual flights. Many of these employees and passengers take the Blue Line to and from the airports.
The Chicago bike-sharing program partially funded by this TIGER grant will improve the long-term efficiency, reliability, and cost competitiveness in the movement of people. Chicago’s bike-share program will foster sustainability by enhancing the public transportation options that support and encourage the development of existing communities. It will also improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Chicago bike-sharing system will improve the environmental sustainability of the Chicago transportation network by improving air quality. Users are expected to take an estimated 2.66 million trips in the first full year of operations and will travel an estimated 3.8 million miles.
$13,850,000 – Multimodal Transportation Center in Alton, Illinois
Today’s TIGER grant funding for the Madison County Transit Board of Trustees and the City of Alton will help create a Multimodal Transportation Center in conjunction with the new High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail station in Alton, Illinois. The project will support a major expansion of eco-tourism to the Mississippi River region as well as a $72 million public-private investment in the planned Wadlow Town Centre redevelopment project on Homer Adams Parkway.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the news that the City of Alton and Madison County Transit will receive a TIGER grant for a new multimodal facility,” said Alton Mayor Tom Hoechst. “This facility will make taking the new 110 mph Amtrak service more convenient for citizens while also spurring economic activity around the area.”
The $13,850,000 in funding will help provide roadway and pedestrian access to the new Amtrak station and for construction of the multimodal and related infrastructure. It will also allow Madison County Transit to improve connectivity through the region including Southern Illinois University Edwardsville which attracts more than one-third of its 14,000-student body from metro Chicago and other cities along the high-speed rail corridor.
$10,438,000 – Illinois Route 83 (Reconstruction of 2 Mile Span)
Today’s TIGER Grant funding for the Illinois Department of Transportation will help reconstruct two miles of Illinois Route 83 between Kedzie Avenue and Western Avenue / Dixie Highway with two travel lanes in each direction separated by a median to accommodate left turn lanes. The project, along with the planned interchange between Interstates 57 and 294, will reduce congestion, improve the flow of goods and services throughout the region and create about 135 construction jobs.