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  • 15 Oct 2012 1:15 PM | Beth Doria (Administrator)
    Warning: Potholes ahead.

    With federal and state funding on the decline, Illinois is spending about 40 percent less on road projects this fiscal year, a cutback of more than $1 billion from the $2.9 billion spent in the year ended in June.

    That's bulldozing jobs and forcing construction firms and their suppliers to slash overhead, stop buying new equipment and compete fiercely for remaining contracts.

    It's also sparking talk of the need for a new, multibillion-dollar borrowing program—and possibly an increase in the gasoline tax—for road projects and other construction as the state's last $31 billion capital-improvement program, enacted in 2009, runs out of borrowing authority.

    “We are facing a bleak future if nothing changes,” says Linda Wheeler, a budget expert at the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, a Springfield-based labor-management group that lobbies on transportation funding issues. “We are looking for the existing system to basically go to hell.”

    With spending projected to drop further in years ahead, the state's backlog of road repairs will nearly double within six years, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Only 68 percent of state roads will be rated “acceptable” by 2018, down from 88 percent now.

    The impact will be huge for Illinois, a national transportation hub, and its 16,000-mile network of state-funded roads, which carry more than half the state's traffic. While bad roads create delays and raise the costs of driving and moving freight, the cutbacks also mean that deferred maintenance will only increase the cost of making those repairs eventually.

    “We've got a multibillion-dollar infrastructure, and you've got to maintain it and modernize it, and that costs money,” says Doug Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “Infrastructure investment is really the cornerstone of our whole damn economy.”


    Read Entire Article at ChicagoBusiness.com 
  • 05 Sep 2012 12:27 PM | Beth Doria (Administrator)

    The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has initiated a program to evaluate passenger rail improvements for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac passenger rail corridor. The program is being prepared in partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and in association with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

    The purpose of the program is to improve intercity mobility by providing an improved passenger rail service that would be a competitive transportation alternative to automobile, bus and air service between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac, Mich. The program will provide sufficient information for the FRA to potentially support future decisions to fund and implement a major investment in the passenger rail corridor.

    This website is being provided to keep you informed about the program and to provide opportunities for you to give input.

    Learn more at http://www.greatlakesrail.org/

    Meeting Schedule

    The public is welcome to come anytime between 4 and 7 p.m. to review the displays and talk with staff. A presentation will be given at 4:30 p.m. and repeated at 6 p.m. The same information will be presented at each meeting.

    Illinois
    Wednesday, September 12, 4 to 7 p.m.
    Chicago Union Station
    Union Gallery Room (off the Great Hall)
    500 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL

    Indiana
    Thursday, September 13, 4 to 7 p.m.
    Michigan City/City Hall
    100 E. Michigan Blvd., Michigan City, IN

    Michigan
    Wednesday, September 26, 4 to 7 p.m.
    Double Tree by Hilton Hotel
    5801 Southfield Expressway, Dearborn, MI

    Thursday, September 27, 4 to 7 p.m.
    Radisson Plaza Hotel
    100 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
    (Parking validation will be provided for the Radisson parking garage.)

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