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June 1, 2000

'IllinoisFIRST' Boosts Transit Capital Program

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois FIRST has increased the size of the multi-year public transportation program by 150 percent over the previous five years.

"The proposed $6.1 billion program for fiscal years 2001 through 2005 will provide a real boost to transit services," Ryan said. "Replacing aging buses and commuter rail cars as well as rehabilitating and modernizing transit facilities means better service for public transportation riders.

"Dependable public transportation improves the quality of life and supports economic activity. It is critical to meeting the needs of citizens who depend on mass transit to get to their jobs, access health care and other services and connect with other people," Ryan said.

The Illinois FIRST program will also allow extending public transportation services in many areas of the state including small urban and rural areas, the St. Louis Metro East region and northeastern Illinois.

"Expanding service in the Chicago area is especially important to ongoing efforts to relief congested highways, and downstate expanded service will make transit available to more citizens," Ryan added.

Capital Projects

For fiscal year 2001, the proposed transit program provides $1.1 billion for capital investments. That is 150 percent greater than the average annual capital program level for fiscal years 1995-1999, prior to Illinois FIRST.

In northeastern Illinois, the proposed capital projects will make major headway towards modernizing and rehabilitating aging transit systems and expand service.

Here are highlights of capital projects in the proposed fiscal 2001 program:

Northeastern Illinois

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

  • $102.6 million for improving and expanding service on the Blue Line and Brown Line
  • $53 million to purchase and overhaul buses
  • $98.6 million to rehabilitate rapid transit cars
  • $154 million for rehabilitating and upgrading various rail lines and structures, many of them a Century old, passenger stations and facilities and equipment.

Commuter Rail Division (Metra)

  • $67 million to upgrade and extend service on the North Central, SouthWest and Union Pacific West lines
  • $134.6 million to rehabilitate commuter rail cars and locomotives
  • $63.6 million for work to renew track and structures
  • $41.6 million to reconstruct and upgrade various stations and support facilities.


Suburban Bus Division (Pace)

  • $32.6 million to purchase full-size buses, small vehicles to serve individuals with disabilities, and vanpool equipment
  • $12.3 million to upgrade support and passenger facilities and equipment.

In addition, the fiscal year 2001 capital program allocates $7.5 million each in the city of Chicago and the suburbs for special projects under Operation GreenLight, a program specifically focused on reducing highway congestion through transit improvements. This is in addition to $3 million in road funds for projects to improve access to public transportation and safety at commuter rail grade crossings.

Southwest Illinois

  • $83.6 million to construct the extension of the MetroLink light rail line from East St. Louis to MidAmerica Airport and the purchase of rail cars
  • $5.4 million to purchase buses and bus equipment by the Bi-State Development Agency and the Madison County Transit District
  • $4 million in special Congestion Mitigation funds for the construction of a transfer center and for rideshare and other transit enhancements.

Other Downstate Urbanized Areas

The fiscal year 2001 capital program proposes $14.7 million for replacing aging buses, purchasing equipment, constructing facilities, and performing preventive maintenance.

Rural and Small Urban Areas

For fiscal 2001, the program allocates $2.3 million for replacing vehicles and constructing facilities.

Statewide Paratransit Service

Paratransit service meets the special mobility needs of the elderly and persons with a disability in both urbanized and rural areas. The fiscal year 2001 program includes $3.7 million for the purchase of paratransit vehicles, such as vans.

Operating Assistance

The state provides substantial operating assistance to 21 transit systems throughout the state. For fiscal year 2001, the estimated amount is nearly $326 million, with $271.5 million programmed for the Regional Transportation Authority in northeastern Illinois. An estimated $16.2 million will go to the transit districts in southwestern Illinois, $33.8 million to the other urbanized area systems, and $4.3 million to five rural and small urban systems.

The additional funding through Illinois FIRST also fully reimburses transit systems participating in the program for reduced fares for the elderly, students and persons with disabilities.


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