Illinois

MetroLINK Receives $6M in New Transit Funds in Illinois

MetroLINK will receive $6 million in new funding from Illinois to purchase zero-emission buses as part of $113.8 million in funds to rebuild Illinois announced Tuesday by Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation became.

The funding brings the total investment in transit to $337.8 million through competitive grants and supports the governor’s mission to create economic opportunity by improving all modes of transportation while increasing safety and efficiency, according to a press release from Pritzker’s office .

In this March 30, 2020 file photo, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks in Chicago during the Daily Update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, file)

“I’m proud to announce the third round of Rebuild Illinois projects — 32 interstate transit partners both rural and urban — which will receive a total investment of nearly $114 million,” Gov. Pritzker said in the press release. “This third round of grants will expand transportation options and create more high-paying jobs throughout the state of Illinois. Together, under my administration, we have invested billions of dollars to revitalize upstate communities, more than any other administration in Illinois history.”

The projects provide more transportation options in remote communities and promote an improved quality of life.

“These awards for our transportation systems will reinforce our status as a national leader in providing affordable public transportation that is safe and accessible to all in our state,” said Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman. “Through Rebuild Illinois, Gov. Pritzker and IDOT continue to advance the state’s transportation system by seeking out the best projects and providing our local partners with the resources they need to implement them.”

A total of 32 transit systems will receive grants to advance 44 projects, including $6 million for the Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK) to replace six buses with zero-emission buses, the release said.

MetroLINK will receive $6 million in new public transit grants from the State of Illinois.

“Thanks to Gov. Pritzker and the IDOT team, the recent Rebuild Illinois Grant Award will allow us to further develop our battery electric bus fleet through the purchase of six additional battery electric buses,” MetroLINK spokeswoman Jennifer Hirsch said Tuesday morning.

“Since 2018, our battery electric bus program has continued to expand, with 30% of our fleet currently made up of battery electric bus vehicles,” she said. “These types of investments reinforce our commitment to growing our community through an environmentally responsible and equitable public transportation network.”

“Investment in infrastructure is critical to expanding states’ transportation needs,” said State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “We have seen remarkable improvements through the Rebuild Illinois capital program. Expanding Decatur’s transit campus, purchasing additional buses, and installing solar panels on the bus station will improve accessibility for residents to get around the city.”

The first two rounds of Substate Transit Grants went to projects such as the renovated transit facility and passenger information kiosks for the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, a new transportation center in downtown Bloomington, and a new building to serve as the headquarters, training facility, and shipping center for the West Central Mass Transit District in Jacksonville.

MetroLINK’s $1 million average cost per new electric bus includes not only the vehicle itself, but also batteries, charging interface, cameras, passenger notification system, signage, driver assistance technologies, driver enhancements, etc., Hirsch said.

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois will invest a total of $33.2 billion over six years in the state’s aging transportation system, creating jobs and fueling economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first to address all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian shelters, the press release said.

A full list of recipients can be found on the IDOT Public Transport Providers page or by clicking here.

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