Infrastructure Bill: To Boost CTA Red Line Extension, Lead Pipe Removal, Illinois EV Charging Stations

President Joe Biden enacted the landmark $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill on Monday, passing Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot – at the White House for the ceremony – the colossal job of spending the billions of dollars new money paid to city and state over the next five years.

For the first time, there will be a dedicated funding stream in the form of grant programs to bring all transit and commuter train stations into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, a legislative victory for the champion of measure, Iraq war veteran and double amputee Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Based on interviews with Lightfoot and Pritzker, extension of the CTA red line from 95th to 130e Street, accelerating the removal of lead water pipes and the reconstruction of portions of the Eisenhower Freeway through Chicago and neighboring suburbs, the I-190 exit near O’Hare Airport and I-80 into Will County are among the priority projects to be supported by federal spending.

Federal funding will speed up some projects already underway – removing lead water pipes in Chicago – transit and highway projects blocked for years – while helping fund large-scale electric vehicle charging networks statewide.

In a Zoom interview with Chicago reporters, Lightfoot said the city was not yet sure how much money it would receive, with some funding hinging on competitive federal grants.

Expanding transit, removing lead pipes, expanding broadband Internet access, and creating a new support system for electronic vehicles are at the top of Lightfoot’s list.

“We are looking forward to getting started as quickly as possible,” she said.

The city of Chicago launched its own program last year to remove lead pipes from residential properties. Federal funds, Lightfoot said, “will start it all,” “increasing the number of homes we can reach” and reducing the time it will take to get the job done.

Lightfoot said there would “certainly” be federal money to expand the CTA redline from 95e Street at 130e, although she did not yet have a timeline for the project.

A spokeswoman for Representative Bobby Rush in Illinois told the White House he delivered a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging him to support the expansion of Red Line South Side to the outskirts of town.

“This transit desert has a disproportionate impact on black residents, which means that the early termination of the Red Line has far-reaching implications for fairness. As a result, many African American citizens of Chicago are literally disconnected from the “mainland” from the rest of the city. It is reminiscent of the ‘colony’ and ‘motherland’ of times gone by, ”the Rush letter said.

The new law will pay Illinois $ 17 billion for projects with billions more prospects through competitive grants.

In terms of timing, Pritzker, in an interview with The Sun-Times, said: “We will only see these dollars in the first quarter of the calendar year. So somewhere in January, February, March.

Illinois is “in an exceptionally good position” to move projects forward, Pritzker said, as federal money will be added to the $ 45 billion ReBuild Illinois program approved by the Illinois General Assembly in 2019 .

“This money will help us accelerate some of these projects that are part of our multi-year plan,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker cited as examples the proposed road and bridge over a 16-mile stretch of I-80 “in very poor condition” in Will County and exiting I-190 to enter and exit O ‘ Hare. He said he supported the rebuilding of parts of the Eisenhower in Chicago and neighboring suburbs.

The governor said he would soon sign a state bill to boost the electric vehicle business in Illinois, and that federal money will help build the “thousands of charging stations” that Illinois will have. need.

Biden used the South Lawn signing ceremony to highlight bipartisan support for the infrastructure bill – a rarity in Washington – as he pleaded for more “compromise and consensus.”

“Guys, too often in Washington, the reason we haven’t got this done is because we insist on getting whatever we want,” Biden said.

“With this law, we focused on getting things done. I ran for President because, in my opinion, the only way to move this country forward is through compromise and consensus. This is how the system works. It’s American democracy, ”Biden said.

Former President Donald Trump led attacks on all 19 GOP Senators and 13 GOP House Members, including Representative Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Who voted for the infrastructure bill. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said all those who support the bill have been invited to attend the signing. A spokeswoman for Kinzinger said it “hadn’t worked out for him to attend.”

ILLINOIS DETAILS

The new law provides for Illinois:

• $ 1.7 billion for drinking water supply and sanitation infrastructure in Illinois

• $ 9.8 billion for federal highway projects

• $ 1.4 billion for the replacement and repair of bridges

• About $ 4 billion for public transport

• At least $ 100 million for broadband internet coverage statewide

• Approximately $ 616 million for airport improvements


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