“Illinois is the country’s transportation hub, with freight activity a cornerstone of the state’s economy,” said Omer Osman, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “At IDOT, we want our local partners to have the necessary tools to manage traffic safely and spur even more job creation and economic growth.”
$26 million has been allocated to 21 different transportation projects throughout Illinois, with IDOT distributing $7 million to projects specifically working to boost infrastructure and upgrade Illinois truck traffic accommodations.
“IDOT has awarded $7 million to put toward a total investment of $36 million for communities to better handle truck traffic and spur economic growth,” said IDOT Illinois recently in a tweet.
These funds come from IDOT’s Truck Access Route Program grants, an initiative calling for all towns, counties, and municipalities needing road upgrade assistance in regards to the transitioning of roads into designated trucks routes (that can accommodate heavy trucks) to apply.
According to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, this funding is meant to ensure local communities have everything needed to better manage economic growth, attract more business, and improve the overall quality of life of their locals.
Projects aiming to improve designated truck route-to-business connections in efforts to boost freight traffic can receive a maximum of $900,000, IDOT explained. To apply for a grant, interested groups should list traffic figures, the number of lanes involved, and the length in both feet and miles of the project as a whole.
Out of the most recent funding, $900,000 was allocated to Champaign County, whose funds will help its County Highway 20, a north-south stretch connecting to U.S. 45 and reaching from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. $651,000 was awarded to DeKalb County, a northern Illinois town 60 miles west of Chicago, which is working to upgrade Chicago Road and its connection to Route 23. Williamson County is receiving $250,000 for its Thompsonville Road, a route connecting Corinth Road with Locust Grove Road.
Boone County is also receiving $630,000 for its Poplar Grove Road connecting the City of Belvidere to the Village of Poplar Grove, La Salle County is receiving $518,400 for its County Highway 2 connecting U.S. 34 with U.S. 52, and McLean County is receiving $366,300 for its County Highway 24 and $517.000 for its Meadows Road connecting 2555 North Road to U.S. 24.
Additionally, a Franklin County project regarding County Highway 14 was given $318,500. Franklin County is 100 miles southeast of St.Louis and reaches around the bottom half of Rend Lake, and County Highway 14 connects to north-south southern Illinois route SR 148.
Rebuild Illinois was initiated in 2019 as an infrastructure improvement initiative that would work to invest in the improvement of transit, roads, bridges, state parks, historic sites, clean water infrastructure, and education, and Pritzker announced recently that $250 million of these funds would be dedicated to Illinois transportation projects.
For county, town, and municipality-focused projects, $1.5 billion was also allocated by Rebuild Illinois. These grants will be distributed evenly throughout six installments over the next three years to local government agencies. In March, IDOT sent the third of its six $250,000 million installments as part of the overall multi-year, $33.2 billion capital program.
A job-training program was also announced by Pritzker, along with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This effort has been created in collaboration with the Association for Supply Chain Management and aims to boost the recently unemployed or underemployed due to challenges faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The job-training program is also meant to find methods of helping Illinois locals better understand and utilize the exponential growth of logistics, shipping, and e-commerce across the state–especially that which skyrocketed during the nation’s stay-at-home orders.
To funnel funds to Rebuild Illinois, the state’s fuel tax rate did increase in 2020 after doubling in 2019, with current fuel tax rates coming up to 46.2 cents per gallon for diesel and 38.7 cents per gallon for gasoline.