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October 11, 2017
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Metropolitan Chicago to benefit from $256 million investment in 39 transportation projects to reduce congestion and improve air quality

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning approves federal surface transportation investments that advance the region's comprehensive plan and enhance the region's roads, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCTOBER 11, 2017

Contact: Mandy Burrell Booth (mburrell@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8716) or Tom Garritano (tgarritano@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8609)

CHICAGO, October 11, 2017 -- Residents of metropolitan Chicago will benefit from improved transit, roads, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities through $256 million in federal funds to support 39 transportation improvement projects for reducing congestion, improving air quality, and enhancing non-motorized transportation.

Allocated by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), these funds are made available through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program and the locally programmed Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP-L). Following a process of competitive proposals publicly reviewed by transportation experts and stakeholders from across the region, today CMAP's Board and Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee approved the 39 new CMAQ and TAP-L projects in the FFY 2018-22 CMAQ and FY 2018-20 TAP-L program.

The full list of projects is available on CMAP's website. Highlights include:

  • $57 million to improve the State/Lake Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) rail station in Chicago
  • $44.8 million for Metra to acquire and refurbish 28 locomotives to reduce emissions
  • $29.1 million for I-90 Westbound improvements from Ill. Route 43 to I-190
  • $19 million for I-294 to and from Franklin Avenue/Green Street, to improve intersections, traffic signals, pedestrian facilities and more
  • $12.2 million for the 43rd Street Access Bridge to the Lakefront Trail in Chicago
  • $10 million for the Pace Pulse Dempster line, to construct arterial rapid bus transit stations and purchase a dedicated fleet of vehicles serving the Dempster corridor from Evanston to O'Hare International Airport
  • $10 million to improve the Elmhurst Metra Station and adjacent pedestrian and bicycle facilities
  • $8 million for the CTA to purchase up to 10 fully accessible electric buses and two charging stations
  • $2.8 million to extend the Skokie Valley Trail with a bike bridge over Lake-Cook Road, and another $2.9 million to fill a gap in the trail between Golf Road and Dempster Street
  • $2.7 million for the West Branch DuPage River Trail in DuPage County
  • $2.7 million to improve safety and reduce congestion along Jefferson Street in Will County
  • $680,000 for the Great Western Regional Bike Trail Extension from LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve to Randall Road

The CMAQ program seeks to improve air quality in areas -- including northeastern Illinois -- that do not attain federal air-quality standards. The 39 selected projects are estimated collectively to eliminate 122.5 kilograms daily of volatile organic compound emissions, which are among the primary precursors to ground-level ozone that is harmful to breathe.

"Metropolitan Chicago's transportation infrastructure has historically been a strategic economic advantage, and CMAP is deeply committed to modernizing this infrastructure by carefully prioritizing investments to ensure the highest level of return," said CMAP executive director Joseph C. Szabo. "The projects approved today are exemplary in that they not only will reduce congestion and improve people's options for getting around by transit, bike, walking and driving, but they also will improve quality of life and economic prosperity for the entire region."

The region has received over $2 billion in federal CMAQ funds since the program began in 1992. The TAP-L program was created in 2012 to provide non-motorized transportation funding, which the region focuses on construction of bicycle trails. During this year's cycle, CMAP held a joint CMAQ/TAP call for projects from January to March 2017. Staff then evaluated 105 CMAQ and TAP-L applications requesting more than $887 million. Funding recommendations were considered by the CMAQ Project Selection Committee in July, released for a 30-day public comment period, and approved by the Transportation Committee in September prior to final approval today by the Board and MPO Policy Committee.

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About CMAP. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is the region's comprehensive planning organization. The agency and its partners are developing ON TO 2050, a new comprehensive regional plan to help the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois to implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues. See www.cmap.illinois.gov for more information.


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