Chicago and Illinois have a history as the crossroads of America. Airplanes, trains and cars carry millions of people every year through our airports, rail hubs and highways. Cargo ships unload at our ports or pass through in transit between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and planes, trains and trucks carry billions of dollars worth of goods to or through the city and state. This activity creates tens of thousands of shipping and logistics jobs. In a global economy, transportation and logistics solutions will keep us competitive in the 21st century -- attracting a new wave of companies and entrepreneurs.
Chicago also has one of the finest public transit systems in the world, allowing workers to come to work in the city from all over the region. As a community organizer, Christian Mitchell worked with residents, community leaders and elected officials to draft and pass the Universal Transit Fare Card bill, which will allow transfers among CTA, Pace and Metra with a single fare card, improve transit options and reduce commute times for the people of the 26th district and Illinois.
This transportation and transit infrastructure makes Chicago and Illinois premier destinations for businesses, residents and tourists. We must maintain and improve transit throughout Illinois and the Midwest, both to create jobs and to keep Chicago and the state economically competitive. The transportation sector is a big part of our economy and a major source of jobs, and Christian Mitchell will make sure we remain a leader in the industry.
As State Representative, Christian will pursue several goals to maintain and enhance the state's transportation system:
*Work to institute performance management initiatives to ensure that every dime of the recently passed capital bill is spent efficiently and effectively.
*Push for expanded and upgraded transportation infrastructure to create jobs and maintain the Chicagoland area's status as a transportation hub.
*Fight for improved transit options to enable residents to get to work faster and make the city and state more attractive for businesses.
Performance Management Initiatives
Illinois will spend billions of dollars upgrading its transportation infrastructure over the next several years. We must implement measures to ensure that these investments are spent effectively and efficiently, and fit into a long-term plan for the future of Illinois' transportation system.
*Resources must be allocated where they will maximize return on investment. Funding for public transit and highways must reflect the populations of the areas they serve.
*Each construction project should be bid competitively and awarded to the firm that will deliver the best value to the people of Illinois. In addition to cost and quality, we must take into account the longevity of the project. To maximize the return on investment and keep taxpayers' dollars in our communities, labor and materials should be locally sourced if possible.
*Transportation planning must be part of a broader plan for regional competitiveness, encompassing land use, high-speed rail, housing and industry, and with input from planning organizations and business leaders.
*All projects must satisfy two goals: they must create jobs, and they must facilitate smoother movement of people to and from work, goods to and from businesses, or customers to and from stores.
In addition to short-term spending to maintain roads, railways and bridges, the state must develop a long-term plan that incorporates a strategic vision to maintain and enhance Illinois' status as a global transportation center. To do so, we must:
*Modernize the gas tax, a flat rate that has not been updated in decades. Christian will push to adjust the tax to reflect the rising cost of road maintenance, and index it to inflation going forward.
*Work to ensure that Chicago is a hub of any high-speed rail development.
*Maintain and upgrade cargo rail lines.
*Fight to end the discrepancy in spending between Chicago and the rest of the state. Transit in Chicago must receive as much attention as the rest of Illinois.
*Maintain the state's highway system.
*Push for upgrades to intermodal centers to facilitate greater transfer of goods among air, rail, road and water routes.
*Work to invest in green transportation technology infrastructure to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and reduce costs over the long term.
Much of the CTA was built in the early 20th century. Since then, populations have shifted throughout the city, and transit in Chicago and Illinois no longer reflects the changing population density of our neighborhoods.
*Work to provide better train transit for 26th district residents by implementing the Gold Line proposal to run trains more frequently on the Metra Electric line, upgrade existing stations and add a stop at 35th street.
*In response to population growth in the River East area, seek to add additional CTA bus service.
*Push for improved public safety throughout the district and enhanced and expanded bike and trail paths to give residents greater non-automotive transit options throughout the district.
*Work with the Governor, fellow state legislators and Illinois' congressional delegation to fight for increased federal transportation funding. Springfield needs a bigger voice in Washington to ensure we maintain, modernize and expand our infrastructure.