Although each project was evaluated as either an expressway, transit, or arterial project, many of the constrained RSPs have multimodal elements and benefits. For example, the reconstruction of the Eisenhower expressway (RSP 30) will include improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities near CTA stations and interchanges in the project corridor, construction of a multi-use trail connecting the Prairie Path and Columbus Park, and configurations that can accommodate express bus service or other future transit investments. It is also closely linked reconstruction of the Forest Park branch of the blue line (RSP 93). Several other constrained expressway and arterial projects include plans for improving transit service.
The constrained RSPs total $72.7 billion in year of expenditure (YOE) dollars, which takes into account incremental operating costs ($3.7 billion) and capital costs ($18.7 billion for new capacity and $50.3 billion for reconstruction elements) as well as anticipated cost inflation by the time the project is constructed and begins operation. Except for highway or transit extensions, most projects include reconstruction elements. The cost of fixing existing infrastructure is accounted for separately in the financial plan forecast, and only the cost associated with new capacity requires identifying additional available resources to meet fiscal constraint. Approximately 60 percent of the new capacity cost is for transit projects and 40 percent for highway improvements.
ON TO 2050 acknowledges that tolling will be needed to defray the costs of rebuilding the expressway system and that value capture will be required to fund transit needs. The plan assumes that tolling on all lanes would be implemented following most planned reconstruction projects, generating $14.6 billion in bond proceeds to offset project costs. Transit projects can also generate revenue to offset their costs. Recently authorized state legislation allows Transit Facility Improvement Areas in which a form of value capture can be used to fund transit capital investments. Four areas defined in statute that benefit from rail service can have part of their property tax revenues directed to repay bonds issued to pay for capital costs. ON TO 2050 includes $2.97 billion in bond proceeds from value capture to offset transit project costs. For more formation about revenue, see the recommendation Fully fund the region’s transportation system.
Important project types that do not meet the RSP threshold
Many types of projects do not meet the technical thresholds for RSPs, but are nonetheless important to consider for funding and implementation as systematic enhancements to the transportation system. This includes a wide variety of smaller projects like intersection improvements, bike trails, accessibility improvements, and safety counter-measures that can help make progress toward a seamless, multimodal transportation system. Examples include numerous road projects that are local priorities, such Eldamain Road and Illinois 47 improvements in Kendall County or Longmeadow Parkway in Kane County. Because of severe congestion in Lake County, many arterial improvements are needed there beyond the larger projects that are constrained RSPs in ON TO 2050, including capacity improvements on additional segments of IL 60, US 45, IL 176, and others.
Priorities for regional bicycle trails are featured in the Northeastern Illinois Greenways and Trails Plan (RGTP), updated in 2016 and adopted as part of ON TO 2050, which envisions a network of continuous greenway and trail corridors, linked across jurisdictions, providing scenic beauty, natural habitat, and recreational and transportation opportunities. Completion of this plan and complementary on-street facilities would create a robust, integrated network, connecting cyclists and pedestrians to communities and amenities across the region. Since 2013, CMAP has been using the RGTP to guide funding decisions for the Transportation Alternatives Program. For example, the Transportation Alternatives Program is currently funding an extension of the Great Western Trail from LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St Charles to Randall Road, along abandoned railroad right of way in Kane County. This segment links LeRoy Oakes with Randall Road and would allow riders to connect to the Fox River Trail via local roads.