Chicago.- (HINA Wire) – Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and labor, legislative and local leaders today to announce the release of a $20.7 billion multi-year plan to improve Illinois’ roads and bridges over the next six years.
This robust commitment, fueled by the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, will reinforce Illinois’ leadership as a transportation hub and create thousands of jobs as the state seeks to spur economic growth following the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest multi-year plan builds on significant infrastructure investment over the past two years, with over 2,700 miles of state and local roadways and 290 bridges already improved through Rebuild Illinois.
With more than 4.9 million Illinoisans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 64% of residents age 18 and over receiving at least their first dose, the Governor also announced the return of full Amtrak service in Illinois beginning July 19th. In accordance with CDC guidance, face masks are still required on public transit, including trains, to prevent community spread.
“With all that’s been built over the last two years, even through a global pandemic, today we are announcing the new Multi-Year Plan for the next six years that will reconstruct over 2,700 more miles of roads and nearly 8 million square feet of bridges. And of course, the projects in this MYP will continue to create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans across our state – bolstering our pandemic recovery in yet one more way,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
“Rebuild Illinois is about investing for the future – supporting this generation and the next, making sure we have good jobs and the roads to get there, and building a state where opportunity is just around the corner for everyone, no matter where you’re standing.”
HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Based on current funding levels, the FY2022-27 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve 2,779 miles of roads and 7.9 million square feet of bridge deck. Of the $20.7 billion over the six years of the program, $3.32 billion has been identified for the upcoming fiscal year.
Included in the program are a multitude of projects that will create economic opportunity, enhance quality of life, and improve safety on both the IDOT and local transportation systems.
Project selection was based on objective criteria, such as pavement conditions, traffic volumes and crash history. Of the major elements in the plan for IDOT roads and bridges, investments include: $5.79 billion for highway reconstruction and preservation, $4.82 billion for bridge improvements, $2.59 billion for strategic expansion, $1.43 billion for system support such as engineering and land acquisition, and $1.21 billion for safety and system modernizations.
“Under the governor’s leadership, we are continuing to build and sustain infrastructure that gives Illinois its competitive edge and strengthens our status as the transportation hub of North America,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “This latest multiyear program means we will keep making historic improvements in our transportation system, just as we have throughout the pandemic. As people start to explore and travel Illinois again, we want passenger rail to be a viable option as well.”
The program will create and support hundreds of thousands of earning opportunities over the next six years for Illinois residents in communities across the state. As the state and national economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, these jobs will be a critical source for families working to get back on their feet.
“This plan will put us on a path to providing equitable, data-driven solutions for underserved communities across the state. As Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am excited to see these projects implemented and to see much-needed investment in our communities,” said Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago).
“The Rebuild Illinois program is the largest infrastructure investment in Illinois’ history, and continues to have a transformational impact on central Illinois,” said Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “This financial commitment is not just about streets and highways or roads and bridges. It is invigorating communities, spurring economic development, and putting people to work.”
“Illinois is the transportation hub of the Midwest, and I am pleased to see that maintaining and improving our roads and bridges remains a priority through this new multi-year plan,” said Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles), who serves as the Minority Spokesperson of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Especially as we begin to move out of the pandemic, a reliable transportation grid is essential to restoring economic vitality to businesses that have endured immense difficulty over the last 14 months.”
“As Illinois residents begin to travel throughout the state once again regularly for both work and leisure following the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring our infrastructure provides safe, efficient means to do so is a top priority of mine. The Multi-Year Plan does just that,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D – Grayslake). “Furthermore, the projects outlined in the plan will provide thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans who have longed for a return to work. I was proud to support the Rebuild Illinois Program, and look forward to seeing it carried out right here in Lake County and across the state.”
“Illinois needs reliable infrastructure capable of move people and goods safely across the state. Alleviating congestion, resurfacing roads, and rehabilitating bridges are key activities to keep economic activity and prosperity flowing across Illinois. I commend Governor Pritzker for leading the way in keeping Illinois competitive while we create good-paying jobs,” said Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago).
Passed in 2019, Gov. Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan, the first of its kind in nearly a decade, promotes economic growth by investing a total of $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
RESUMING AMTRAK SERVICE
With the number of positive COVID-19 cases continuing to decrease and the demand for public transportation expanding, Amtrak will resume full passenger rail service, providing another efficient transportation option to connect residents across the state.
A full long-distance interstate schedule will restore four state-sponsored lines. The Chicago-Milwaukee partnership with Wisconsin will resume next week. The three state sponsored routes connecting Chicago and Quincy, Chicago and Carbondale, and Chicago and St. Louis, will run at full capacity by mid-July. Passengers can reserve tickets for travel starting the week of July 19th on Amtrak.com beginning this week.
Amtrak previously announced a return to normal operations for the Hiawatha Service on May 23rd, a partnership of Illinois and Wisconsin departments of transportation that runs between Chicago and Milwaukee with a stop in Glenview.
“As Amtrak begins our 50th year of service nationally, we look forward to growing our ridership back to normal levels and celebrating this fall when our Illinois DOT partnership celebrates its 50th anniversary on Nov. 4,” said Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang, responsible for Amtrak’s state-supported services.
The increased capacity builds upon the administration’s robust efforts to safely connect communities and help lift local economies. Under Rebuild Illinois, a total of $1.1 billion is allocated for rail improvements alone. The critical investments include $78 million in new funds to upgrade rail crossings and improve safety, which will create and support opportunities for hardworking Illinoisans.