Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to highlight more than $44 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant funding Illinois has received for projects in the Chicagoland area and Alton. The grants represent approximately 8 percent of total funding available through the program.
"These important investments are necessary to grow our economy, create jobs and ensure that our state remains strong for years to come," Governor Quinn said. "A top-notch transportation system attracts new investment and jobs to Illinois and I want to thank Secretary LaHood, Senator Durbin and the Illinois congressional delegation for their continued leadership in Washington on behalf 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.
"The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can't afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future," said Secretary LaHood. "That's why we've taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation's transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation's businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow."
"We developed the TIGER grant program over two years ago to empower local officials to identify nationally significant transportation projects in their communities that will improve safety, spur economic development, reduce congestion and create jobs," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). "Illinois has done well under this highly competitive program due to the coordination and hard work of our state and local officials, groups and organizations. I want to thank Secretary LaHood, Governor Quinn and Mayor Emanuel for their leadership and commitment to strengthening our transportation infrastructure and creating good-paying jobs throughout Illinois."
"This grant will make it easier and faster for both residents and tourists to travel throughout our city," said Mayor Emanuel. "Revitalizing and modernizing our infrastructure is critical to creating jobs and enhancing the quality of life of residents throughout the city. I want to thank Secretary LaHood, Senator Durbin, Representative Luis Gutierrez and the Illinois delegation for their support and recognizing this TIGER grant will help ensure we provide a solid foundation for the city's future."
The TIGER grants will fund the following programs:
$20,000,000 -- Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line/Chicago Bike Share Program
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 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.
$10,438,000 -- Illinois Route 83 (Reconstruction of 2 Mile Span)
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.
$13,850,000 -- Multimodal Transportation Center in Alton, Illinois
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.
The $13,850,000 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.