Feds give Illinois millions for road and rail projects

August 18, 2011

City Room and The Associated Press

(WBEZ)

Illinois will receive more than $16.9 million in federal grants for highway improvement and planning.

The awards come from the U.S. Department of Transportation and include $2.7 million for pedestrian safety devices at 78 locations along the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed rail corridor and $1.7 million to replace two pedestrian crossings and an underpass at the Lake-Cook Metra station in Deerfield.

"Transportation investments like these will create jobs and improve the quality of life for Illinois residents as well as strengthen the state's economy," said Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

The grants will also help fund redevelopment of the Oak Forest Metra commuter station, research for the application of differential pricing on existing toll roads, and the resurfacing of State Street from Burnham Avenue to State Line Road in Calumet City, according to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Another $3.75 million will go toward reconstruction of Interstate 57 and $3.6 million to study the best route for Interstate 66 across southern Illinois between Paducah, Ky., and Interstate 55 in Missouri.

"At a time when states are facing serious budgetary constraints, these grants will help fill a critical need," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "Investments like these are immediate and long-lasting and will help create jobs."

FHWA invited states to apply in June for federal funding from 14 grant programs. Requests poured in from every state, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. - more than 1,800 applications, totaling nearly $13 billion, which is more than 30 times the funds available.

Online: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa1137/