Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)–March 30, 2017. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Dorval Carter and Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Managing Deputy Commissioner Kevin O’Malley to discuss President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts and the devastating impact they could have on transportation infrastructure projects around Chicago. They also discussed progress on the Red and Purple Modernization Program, CREATE’s 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, updates to Chicago’s Union Station, and the Chinese Railroad Rolling Stock Corporation’s (CRRC) new rail car facility on the Southeast Side.
“Investing in our transportation infrastructure creates jobs, revitalizes neighborhoods, and grows small businesses across Chicago. While agencies like the CTA and CDOT are working hard to improve their infrastructure and services, Washington must also do its part,” said Durbin. “President Trump promised a trillion dollar infrastructure package, but his budget slashed transportation investments instead—we can’t let that happen.”
President Trump’s budget – released earlier this month – would eliminate future funding for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program, which includes New Start, Small Start, and Core Capacity grants for transit projects. This elimination jeopardizes the future of CTA projects like the Red Line Extension south of 95th Street. As a member of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Conference Committee in 2012, Durbin helped level the playing field for existing mass transit lines, like the CTA’s Red and Purple Lines, to compete for Federal Transit Authority (FTA) funding under the “New Starts” grant program. Previously, only extensions or new transit lines could compete for the funding, making the vast majority of CTA projects ineligible.
The Trump Administration also proposed the elimination of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, which has been used to fund a variety of infrastructure projects in Chicago including the Chicago Lakefront Bridge in Bronzeville and the CREATE project in Chicago. Illinois has been a major beneficiary of the TIGER grant program, receiving more than $280 million to support critical transportation infrastructure projects since 2009. In 2015, Durbin introduced the bipartisan Transportation Infrastructure Grants and Economic Reinvestment (TIGER) Act to authorize the Secretary of Transportation to provide grants and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans to States, local governments, ports, and transit agencies for critical transportation projects throughout the country.