We are living in historic times for mass transit in Illinois. As Governor J.B. Pritzker signs Rebuild Illinois into law, our state ends a decade without a capital bill and ushers in the largest infrastructure program in its history. It will have transformative effects on our regional transit system.
So what exactly is in this bill for mass transit and riders? Good question.
- As we had long advocated, Rebuild Illinois provides the first-ever sustainable “pay as you go” funding that will generate about $227 million per year for capital investments in the transit system of northeastern Illinois and $25 million for transit elsewhere in the state.
- Adding a further $2.7 billion in bonding revenue for our region over the next five years, the bill begins to address an over-reliance on federal funds for capital and provides the type of consistent funding that is essential for effective planning and programming of projects.
While the total falls short of the region’s $30 billion in transit capital needs over the next decade, make no mistake: It is a significant step forward. In our annual capital and budgetary planning that begins later this summer, the RTA and Transit Agencies will work closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation to determine how we can maximize this new funding’s benefits for residents and communities across the region.
On behalf of this region’s millions of transit riders, we thank Governor Pritzker, all four leaders in the Illinois Senate and House, and the other legislative champions who were critical in passing this landmark capital bill.
Most importantly, a big thank you to everyone who supported our recent Get On Board Illinois campaign. The impetus behind that campaign was Invest in Transit, the strategic plan that lays out the critical needs of our transit system and makes the case for the ongoing, sustainable funding our regional system needs. Get On Board Illinois asked stakeholders and riders from around the state to raise their voices and tell elected officials to support public transportation.
Together, our voices were heard. Today is a landmark day for transit. The RTA along with the transit agencies are determined to maximize mobility and economic benefits for residents and communities throughout our region as we continue to invest it transit.