Illinois Spending $50 Million on Transportation Enhancements
One of dozens of localities receiving state money for transportation improvements, Park Ridge, Ill., received $841,000 for streetscape improvements in the city's uptown district (pictured). The city plans to focus the grant money on several blocks of sidewalk replacement, new trees and tree grates, benches, trash cans, brick pavers and lighting.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider announced almost $50 million in new spending on community transportation and infrastructure improvement projects throughout Illinois, including $2.9 million to projects in metropolitan Chicago.
State officials tout the grants as job-creation tool that promotes bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The latest round of funding through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) will support more than 400 jobs, through 54 projects.
For the current round of funding, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) received 328 applications requesting ITEP federal funding, totaling nearly $327 million. Matching funds are required from the entities that received ITEP grants, state officials said, and the projects are required to commence within three years.
The ITEP is a competitive, federally funded program that encourages transportation-related enhancement projects in a dozen categories:
o Pedestrian and bicycle facilities
o Historic preservation
o Rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities
o Landscaping and scenic beautification
o Scenic and historic highways
o Scenic easements
o Transportation museums
o Outdoor advertising control
o Safety education for pedestrians and bicyclists
o Rails-to-trails corridor preservation
o Archeological planning and research
o Mitigation for roadway runoff and wildlife connectivity
More information on ITEP projects can be found here.