February 17th, 2010

CREATE Program Announces Award of $100 Million in Recovery Funds

Governor Pat Quinn announced today that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) along with the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program partners has received a $100 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  CREATE is a first-of-its-kind partnership, bringing together the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

"Illinois has received the most TIGER funding in the Midwest. This investment will create 1,087 jobs and bring economic growth to our communities," said Governor Quinn. "With this grant and dedicated partnerships like CREATE, Illinois continues to work to ensure our rail industry is moving forward and our state is on its way to becoming the nation's next major rail hub."

"Throughout the country, we have huge bottlenecks that restrict the flow of freight and passengers at a cost to the United States of an estimated $200 billion a year," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).  "The TIGER grant program is a coordinated, comprehensive effort to identify and fund nationally significant transportation projects that will improve safety, spur economic development, reduce congestion and create thousands of good paying jobs across the country.  I thank Secretary LaHood and Governor Quinn for their leadership on this issue and commend local leaders throughout Illinois for their efforts."

"These federal funds will have a tremendous impact on Illinois' economy by creating more jobs," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.  "This is another major step in the right direction to improve livability, sustainability and safety across the state."

"These CREATE investments are critical to securing the jobs and economic growth that come from being the nation's leading hub for both freight and passenger rail commerce," said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

"At a time when jobs are desperately needed, rail is a good investment for America," said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger. "CREATE shows how public-private partnerships enable both government organizations and private transportation companies to address mobility and efficiency challenges, while generating valuable jobs in this tough economy. It truly is a win-win situation."

Across the nation, 1400 applications were submitted for TIGER Grant funding and 50 projects were awarded.   Here in Illinois, 3 applications were awarded totaling $128 million-$100 million for CREATE, $6 million for Tri-City Port District in Granite City, and the Normal, Multi-modal received $22 million.

The CREATE grant funding is targeted to 6 projects benefiting 13 Illinois communities.  The projects will range in scope from rail line and viaduct improvements to a highway-rail grade separation.  The completion of these projects by 2012 will support an estimated 1,087 jobs.

As a project of regional and national significance, CREATE has received tremendous support from lawmakers, public and private organizations and trade unions from across the U.S.  For example, CREATE has received letters of support from as far away as Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. - vital U.S. port locations that often see originating shipments that travel through Chicago.

With significant passenger and freight rail traffic in his district, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) has long been a leader in obtaining funding for CREATE.

"CREATE is the answer to untangling the knots in the Chicago region's passenger and freight rail system," Congressman Lipinski said. "Ever since I secured $100 million to start CREATE in 2005, we have made good progress. This additional federal funding, for which I led the charge, will continue to move the program forward. It comes on the heels of the $133 million for the Englewood Flyover - a major CREATE project - that was included in the high-speed rail funding announced last month, and the $300 million that I worked successfully with state leaders to include in the new state capital bill in July. As the only Chicago-area member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, I plan to add to this already impressive total in the surface transportation bill that Congress is currently working on. Making sure CREATE receives the funding it deserves will create jobs now, ensure our local economy continues to prosper for decades to come, and help make high-speed rail a reality."

For more information on the CREATE Program, go to www.createprogram.org.