September 25, 2022
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Major investments in transportation infrastructure by Illinois and Kansas aim to create economic opportunity and jobs, promote quality of life, and improve mobility safety at both the state and local level.

[Above photos from the Kansas Governor’s Office and Illinois DOT.]

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently unveiled a $34.6 billion program to improve roads, bridges, transit, rail, airports, and ports over the next six years.

Photo by the Illinois DOT

Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) said in a statement that Illinois DOT’s multi-year transportation program would invest roughly $20 billion on roads and bridges, plus $10 billion in state rail and transit systems, airports, and ports. A further $ billion is coming from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, he said.

Of the plan’s major elements, $6.36 billion will go toward highway reconstruction and preservation, $6.4 billion for bridge improvements, $2.03 billion for strategic expansion, $2.48 billion for system support such as engineering and land acquisition, and $1.55 billion for safety and system modernizations.

The governor noted that, for the first time, Illinois DOT is using a new Data-Driven Decisions Tool to analyze road projects that add capacity to ensure greater “equity and transparency” in the transportation planning and programming process.

Omer Osman. Photo by the Illinois DOT.

“This blueprint for investing in Illinois transportation is perhaps the most consequential in [our] history due to the increased federal commitment and Gov. Pritzker’s ongoing leadership,” noted Illinois DOT Secretary Omer Osman.

“We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders, delivering these important projects in communities up and down our state,” he said.

Meanwhile Kansas Governor Laura Kelly (D) just added 11 highway projects – a total investment of more than $520 million – to her state’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation or IKE plan.

Photo by the Kansas DOT

“Expanding and modernizing our highways will improve roadway safety, create good jobs, and deliver more economic opportunities across Kansas, both now and in the future,” she said in a statement.

“These 11 projects demonstrate that investing in transportation benefits our communities, taxpayers, and businesses,” the governor added.

Julie Lorenz, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, noted that her agency is “fully committed” to those additional highway projects while noting the importance of watching inflationary prices and being flexible in scheduling.

“We need to balance the short-term urgency to address as many needs as possible with long term responsibility of making sure we’re good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” she explained.

editor@aashto.org

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