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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2000

Governor Releases $28 Million In Illinois FIRST Funds For Transit Vehicles In Chicago

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the release of $28 million in Illinois FIRST funds for the purchase of 114 new transit buses and the rehabilitation of 490 transit rail cars for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

"The replacement buses will give Chicago-area commuters a better ride and provide more efficient service while improving air quality," Ryan said. "The modernized transit train cars will be safer and more reliable. The improvements, made possible with the Illinois FIRST program, will give current and new transit riders even more reasons to avoid congested highways."

Illinois FIRST funds totaling $9 million will purchase 48 replacement 40-foot buses and 66 dual-buses for heavily traveled routes. All buses will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Another $19 million in Illinois FIRST funds will support the rehabilitation of 490 rapid transit cars.

Statewide, Illinois FIRST will provide $4.1 billion for transit projects through 2004. These funds will be used to replace or rehabilitate aging buses, rail cars, and locomotives; replace or repair rail track, bridge structures and passenger stations; expand commuter rail service in northeastern Illinois and replace buses and enhance passenger stations in many downstate communities. The state stands to capture up to $2 billion in federal funds as a result of Illinois FIRST's increased state and local commitment to transit improvements.

The Illinois FIRST funds for the bus purchase match $36 million in federal transit funds for an investment of $45 million. The state funds for the transit car rehabilitation match $76 million in federal funds for a total of $85 million.


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