U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao was joined this week by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) and members of the Illinois congressional delegation for a grant announcement marking the award of $132,034,680 to the Illinois DOT. The award funds the 75th Street Corridor Improvements and Argo Connections components of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (C.R.E.A.T.E) project. This funding is provided through the $1.5 billion Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program in partnership with the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, Chicago’s METRA Commuter Rail, Amtrak and the nation’s freight railroads.
“The Illinois Department of Transportation received one of the largest INFRA grants this year, totaling $132 million through an exemplary public-private partnership created to improve freight connectivity, decrease congestion, and enhance safety along this nationally significant rail network,” said Secretary Chao.
The C.R.E.A.T.E. Program is an innovative P3 involving the city of Chicago, state of Illinois, the U.S. DOT, and the freight, passenger and commuter railroads serving the Chicago region.
“The rail improvement projects we initiate today are central to the economic vitality of Illinois,” said Rauner. “We are especially grateful to U.S. DOT, Secretary Chao, and our federal partners for the support that green-lighted the plan.”
The project will enhance the region’s economic vitality by improving several high-priority bottlenecks impacting the rail network in Chicago, which moves more than two million railcars a year. C.R.E.A.T.E will generate significant benefits for the movement of goods and people, and improve safety and access for the local communities.
The U.S. DOT’s INFRA grants support the administration’s commitment to fixing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. In June 2018, Secretary Chao announced INFRA grant awards totaling almost $1.5 billion. The INFRA grants are intended to empower states and local communities to make significant long-term infrastructure improvements.