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 OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR                              NEWS
ROD BLAGOJEVICH - GOVERNOR



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2006


Contacts:

Matt Vanover (IDOT) 217/558.0517
                             217/836.2267 (cell)
 

Gov. Blagojevich introduces IDOT budget that accelerates highway system expansion and maintains public transit service levels

FY 2007 budget targets more resources and increased use of technology to reduce congestion

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today presented a Fiscal Year 2007 budget that will allow the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to accelerate projects that will expand the road system and create jobs, support public transportation at its current operating levels and fully take advantage of the funding now available under the new Federal Transportation funding bill. The FY 2007 budget also includes an expansion of the Emergency Traffic Patrol (ETP) function in the Chicago area and a new focus to better use technology in relieving congestion.

The proposed FY 2007 budget includes almost $4.8 billion of new appropriations and a total budget of $8.26 billion including, $2.1 billion for operations and $6.1 billion in capital improvements. The FY 07 budget allows the department to continue building on its successes, including reducing highway fatalities, improving opportunities for small, women and minority owned businesses and upgrading process management throughout the organization. IDOT was the first state Department of Transportation to receive ISO 9001:2000 certification, an international standard that provides a universal baseline for quality process management.

“This year’s budget will allow us to accelerate road improvements and system expansion through Governor Blagojevich’s Jobs for Illinois program,” IDOT Secretary Timothy W. Martin said. “We’ll be able to start work sooner, at a lower cost to the taxpayers, maintain healthy balances in our road funds and make valuable investments in our transportation infrastructure that will put people to work now, and pay economic dividends for years to come.”

The FY 2007 budget contains $2.475 billion for highway expansion and maintenance, which includes $600 million in Transportation Series A bonds as part of Governor Blagojevich’s Jobs for Illinois capital program. This level of funding will allow Illinois to match federal formula funds and earmarked projects available to the state in fiscal year 07.

Some of the major projects IDOT will continue work on during FY 2007 include:

  • Kingery Expressway—I-80 from I-94 to the Indiana state line in Cook County
  • Dan Ryan Expressway—I-94/90 from 13th Street to south of the I-57 interchange in Cook County
  • I-74 Peoria—I-74 from Sterling Avenue in Peoria to Washington Street in East Peoria
  • US 136/IL 336—Quincy to Macomb Corridor
  • McKinley Bridge—Rehab of the McKinley Bridge in the Metro East
  • I-55 at I-80 near Joliet—Interchange reconstruction with improved safety and access

Some of the projects included in the Governor’s $2.3 billion multi-year capital bonding program, that will create a total of 230,000 new jobs, include:

  • US 20 West Freeport Bypass
  • IL 336 Northwest Macomb Bypass
  • Expansion of IL 29 and US 51 in Central Illinois
  • Building Technology Boulevard in East Peoria
  • Widening IL 5 in Moline
  • Widening IL 13 from Marion to Carterville

In addition to maintenance and expansion of the system, the Division of Highways will focus more resources on new technology to reduce congestion. The FY 2007 budget includes the expansion of IDOT’s Emergency Traffic Patrol. This initiative will expand ETP patrol limits on 9 additional miles of I-94 to the Indiana state line, allowing for a quicker response time by IDOT to improve safety and travel times for the traveling public.

The Division of Highways will also begin Email Alert Notifications this year that will send messages to Chicago area commuters updating them with real time information about travel conditions. The Department will purchase additional Dynamic Message Boards for use on congested roadways in Northeastern Illinois that will display travel times and offer alternate routes on congested roadways. Additionally, this year IDOT will be making improvements to the Traveler Information System aimed at bringing up to date information to rest areas throughout Illinois. The Department has also created gettingaroundillinois.com, a website that allows drivers to better plan their commutes by displaying multiple layers of information such as current road conditions and points of interest.

The Fiscal Year 2007 budget continues a strong commitment to public transit by maintaining a $54 million appropriation for the RTA in Northeastern Illinois for paratransit service. The funding for paratransit in the operating budget is in addition to $322 million in financial assistance IDOT will provide to the RTA and $84.4 million in operating grants for downstate public transit systems. The match for $1.7 billion worth of transit projects authorized under the latest federal transportation bill will come from $425 million in Transportation Series B bonds proposed under the Governor’s Jobs for Illinois proposal , with $100 million requested in FY 2007.

The budget proposed during FY 2007 for the Division of Traffic Safety includes an increase of $2.2 million to $12.3 million. An additional $1.2 million has been included in the Traffic Safety budget to fund initiatives targeting impaired driving and an additional $1 million for increased motorcycle rider safety training. IDOT will also start using new federally appropriated seatbelt bonus funds to increase efforts on reducing fatalities across the state.

IDOT’s Division of Aeronautics’ FY 2007 budget includes an appropriation of nearly $140 million of federal and state sources to fund local airport improvements throughout Illinois. During FY 2007 IDOT will continue to work toward acquiring land for a new airport in the Chicago Southland region. Currently, nearly half of the land necessary for construction of the new airport has been purchased. The Department will submit a Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval later this year.
 

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