Cook County DoT and Highways Award $8.5 Million to Invest in Cook Projects; Park Forest Gets Nothing

Toni Preckwinkle masked at a recent press conference
Toni Preckwinkle masked at a press conference.

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH) announced the list of 34 projects that will receive funding under the 2021 ‘Invest in Cook’ grant program. A total of $8,502,580 will be distributed across 29 municipalities and will fund four transit, 15 bicycle/pedestrian, three freight and 12 road projects.

Park Forest gets nothing as the County Board “celebrates 5th year of funding improved transit, pedestrian and bicycle paths as well as freight transportation across Cook County,” according to the release on the awards.

This is the fifth year Invest in Cook grant funding has been awarded for transportation-related projects. Invest in Cook has awarded $39.7 million in grants for a total of 162 projects throughout Cook County since its inception in 2017.

The County’s investment of $8.5 million leverages significant additional local, state and federal funds. Past projects funded by Invest in Cook have gone on to receive $3.00 of local, state or federal funding for every $1.00 of Invest in Cook awards.

To promote diversity in transportation modes, projects were evaluated and ranked by type. This year, 67% of grant funding is directed towards projects in low and moderate-income communities.

“For the last five years, Invest in Cook has improved the way residents travel around Cook County,” said President Preckwinkle. “Each year we’ve identified communities in our most underserved and disadvantaged areas who need funding the most. Improving quality of life and making commuting easier, safer and more accessible for everyone in Cook County will continue to be a top priority for my administration.” 

Invest in Cook grants help municipalities further their transportation projects by covering the cost of planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction associated with transportation improvements sponsored by local governments and private partners.

Invest in Cook is an initiative that’s part of Connecting Cook County, the County’s first long-range transportation plan in 75 years, which guides how the County invests in transportation to attract and retain businesses, people, capital and talent. Invest in Cook grants advance the Vital Communities, Sustainable Communities and Smart Communities priorities laid out in the Cook County Policy Roadmap.

DoTH evaluated the 61 grant applications submitted by local governments and transit agencies based on priorities detailed in Connecting Cook County that:

  • Prioritize transit and other transportation alternatives
  • Support the region’s role as North America’s freight capital
  • Promote equal access to opportunities
  • Maintain and modernize what already exists
  • Increase investments in transportation

DoTH staff evaluated and scored the proposals using publicly available, performance-based criteria. A qualitative assessment consisting of staff reviews of applications and applicant interviews complemented the quantitative assessments.

To view the complete list of 2021 Invest in Cook grant recipients and projects, visit: www.cookcountyil.gov/investincook

This is news from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.