Posted on June 22, 2012 9:32 AM
Chicago Region to Receive Two TIGER IV Grants
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the fourth round of the discretionary Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program grants. These grants include $10.4 million to support the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) freight rail program and $20 million for improvements to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 95th Street terminal.
According to this announcement from the State of Illinois, the TIGER grant to CREATE completes a $370 million public-private funding package to support 15 projects, including new track and signal systems that will ease freight, Amtrak, and Metra congestion and support an estimated 3,300 jobs. More specifically, the package will benefit projects in the CREATE program's Western Avenue corridor, which is used by five separate railroads and Metra service to Joliet, as well as Amtrak service to St. Louis. The package will also fully fund a high-priority grade separation project at 25th Avenue and the Union Pacific Railroad in Melrose Park and will also support the second phase of the City of Chicago’s efforts to improve sidewalks, roadways, and lighting under railroad bridges. Upon completion of these 15 projects, over half of the projects in the CREATE program will be finished. CMAP looks forward to working with the CREATE partners to secure the remaining funding for the program and to develop the next round of rail improvements.
The CTA grant will provide $20 million of the total $140 million for various improvements to the 95th Street terminal, according to a press release from Senator Durbin’s office. This project will upgrade and expand the existing facility to ease bus and pedestrian congestion and enhance safety. The 95th Street terminal is one of the busiest in the CTA system, serving 20,000 passengers per day and numerous bus lines. The award of this TIGER grant follows the CTA’s announcement that it will close the Red Line between the 95th Street and Cermak-Chinatown stations for track replacement and station improvements in 2013. The Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line will be closed for 5 months to complete the $425 million project.
Both CREATE and the CTA have received awards under previous rounds of the TIGER program. CREATE was awarded a $100 million grant in the first TIGER round in 2009, and the CTA Blue Line and City Bike Share programs were awarded a combined $20 million grant in the third TIGER round in 2011.
Both the CREATE and 95th Street terminal projects, and the new TIGER grants awarded to support these projects, are consistent with the goals of GO TO 2040. The plan calls for reinvestment in the existing transportation system and an increased commitment to mass transit. The plan’s freight implementation action areas specifically call for the region to secure funding to complete the CREATE program. Further, the competitive, discretionary nature of TIGER program supports the principles of GO TO 2040, which stresses the importance of strategic transportation investments made on performance-based criteria. CMAP published an Issue Brief on the use of performance-based evaluation criteria and transportation funding in February 2012.