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Letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation - TIGER Grant Funding

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

A bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers today united in support of the application for federal Transportation, Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding submitted earlier this month by the City of Springfield, Illinois.

U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) and Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging the Department of Transportation to provide funding for the construction of a railroad underpass at Carpenter Street -- an important component of the Springfield Rail Improvement Project and the entire Chicago-to-St. Louis passenger rail corridor.

"The future of the Springfield Rail Improvement project depends on federal support for rail projects," wrote the Illinois members. "The underpass will allow the City to eliminate three at-grade rail/highway crossings, decreasing car and train accidents by 80 percent, reducing vehicle delays at rail crossings by 71 percent and improving access for emergency first responders for thousands of Springfield residents. The project is a vital step for the entire area's rail improvement strategy, as the free flow of police, fire and medical services must be preserved before other grade crossings are addressed."

The city of Springfield and Sangamon County, with the support of the Illinois Department of Transportation recently submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for $14 million in funding through the TIGER grant program. The FY2013 Transportation Appropriations bill signed into law on March 26, 2013 appropriated $475 million for the program.

Created by Congress in 2009, the TIGER grant program directs the Department of Transportation to invest in a variety of transportation modes, selects projects through a merit-based process. The grant program also ensures that projects across the country are funded and includes several provisions to balance the needs of urban and rural areas. To date, nearly $200 million in TIGER grant funding has been allocated to Illinois development projects such as the Warehouse District in Peoria, the Multimodal Facilities in Moline, Normal and Alton and the CREATE project in Chicago.

Text of today's letter is below:

June 18, 2013

The Honorable Ray LaHood

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We write in support of the City of Springfield, Illinois' application for TIGER grant funding for construction of a railroad underpass at Carpenter Street. The underpass is an important component of the Springfield Rail Improvements Project, which in turn is a segment of the ongoing Chicago to St. Louis passenger rail corridor investments. The future of the Springfield Rail Improvement project depends on federal support for rail projects. This project meets all six of the U.S. Department of Transportation's TIGER grant selection criteria and is an excellent candidate for federal funding.

The City of Springfield proposes building the Carpenter Street Underpass at the 10th Street railroad tracks and Carpenter Street. The project is a beginning step toward double tracking the Chicago to St. Louis rail corridor, increasing capacity for additional passenger service along the 110 mph route. The underpass will allow the City to eliminate three at-grade rail/highway crossings, decreasing car and train accidents by 80 percent, reducing vehicle delays at rail crossings by 71 percent and improving access for emergency first responders for thousands of Springfield residents. The project is a vital step for the entire area's rail improvement strategy, as the free flow of police, fire and medical services must be preserved before other grade crossings are addressed.

Sufficient work has been completed to allow the City to meet the rigorous TIGER obligation schedule. The City estimates that federal funds will be ready for obligation well within the allotted timeframe. We encourage you to give the City's detailed application every consideration possible.

Sincerely,

Mark. S. Kirk

U.S. Senator

Richard J. Durbin

U.S. Senator

Aaron Schock

U.S. Representative

Rodney Davis

U.S. Representative


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