Kirk, Durbin, Schock, Davis applaud decision which will allow construction to begin on a critical segment of the 10th Street rail consolidation project
WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–August 30, 2013. A bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers today announced that the City of Springfield, Illinois has been awarded $14.4 million for the construction of a railroad underpass at Carpenter Street – an important component of the Springfield Rail Improvement Project and the entire Chicago-to-St. Louis passenger rail corridor.
In June, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) and Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) united in support of the city’s application for federal Transportation, Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding. A copy of their letter to then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is available here.
“The Carpenter Street project is an important step toward improving rail safety and efficiency in Springfield,” Kirk said. “To remain competitive, Illinois needs support for its rail system. This effort shows that investing in infrastructure is a bipartisan, bicameral priority.”
“Over $230 million in TIGER grant funding has been awarded to Illinois since I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to create and fund this program four years ago,” said Durbin who discussed the rail consolidation project with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in a meeting shortly before his confirmation by the Senate. “Today, we are able to bring a piece of that funding back to my hometown of Springfield for an important project that will improve travel in and around the city, increase safety and create good paying jobs in the region. As Congress negotiates future transportation spending bills, we need to make certain that funding is maintained for programs, like TIGER, that empower local officials rather than the federal government to decide what projects will best spur economic development in their communities.”
“This grant is an instrumental part of the ongoing rail consolidation project I have continued to support and I was happy to join my colleagues in advocating for Springfield’s application. These funds will help continue the process of safely increasing passenger rail service capacity in and around Springfield while also providing for quicker crossing for our first responders,” said Schock. “A modernized transportation infrastructure system is a vital part of a globally connected economy to be able to move passengers and products to marketplaces efficiently and safely. This grant will help make this possible for the Springfield area.”
“This is incredible news for the City of Springfield and is a perfect example of what can happen when a community rallies around a project and all levels of government put politics aside to work together,” said Davis. “A federal investment of this magnitude shows a long-term commitment to a project that will immediately create jobs and improve the quality of life for area residents for years to come. I’d like to thank local leaders Mayor Houston and Chairman Van Meter for their tireless efforts to see this important project come to fruition.”
Earlier this year, the City of Springfield and Sangamon County, with the support of the Illinois Department of Transportation submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for $14 million in funding through the TIGER grant program. The FY2013 Transportation Appropriations bill signed into law on March 26, 2013 appropriated $475 million for the program.
Created by Congress in 2009, the TIGER grant program directs the Department of Transportation to invest in a variety of transportation modes, selects projects through a merit-based process. The grant program also ensures that projects across the country are funded and includes several provisions to balance the needs of urban and rural areas. To date, nearly $200 million in TIGER grant funding has been allocated to Illinois development projects such as the Warehouse District in Peoria, the Multimodal Facilities in Moline, Normal and Alton and the CREATE project in Chicago.