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Illinois to provide $800 million for mass transit, rail improvements


Yesterday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that launches the next phase of the state’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and provides funding for various freight- and passenger-rail projects.

The legislation authorizes the Illinois Department of Transportation to proceed with $1.6 billion worth of road, rail and transit projects, including $799.5 million for mass transit and rail improvements in fiscal-year 2013.

The state will provide $211 million of the approved funds to the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program for 15 projects, leveraging a recently approved $10.4 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery IV grant and a $136 million commitment from freight railroads involved in the program. The projects include a $36.2 million overpass at 25th Avenue through Melrose Park and Bellwood that's designed to improve safety, reduce roadway congestion, minimize traffic delays and improve access to a Metra station.

“These investments will lead to faster service, more efficient operations and more capacity for future expansion,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a prepared statement. “CREATE is a great reminder that when we invest in our transportation infrastructure, we can put Americans back to work today, and help our economy grow for years to come.”

Among the passenger-rail projects that will receive state funding: the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red, Purple and Blue line improvements, and Metra’s yard improvements and positive train control work.

“Three years ago, we passed the largest capital construction program in Illinois history to put people to work repairing roads, bridges and transit systems across our state,” said Gov. Quinn. “From building new lanes on Route 13 in Southern Illinois, high-speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis, to rebuilding Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois Jobs Now! is strengthening our economy and infrastructure every day.”

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More News from 7/11/2012