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Southern Illinois to share in $121 million for transit investment

Submitted by Paul Wappel,
Illinois Department of Transportation
updated: 11/17/2020 10:18 AM

The Rides Mass Transit District in southern Illinois will get $9.8 million to improve its transit system -- part of $121 million the Illinois Department of Transportation is awarding to 31 transit providers as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program.

The grants are meant to expand and improve service and provide more transportation options in southern and central Illinois.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said communities will get the money over five years, on top of the $2.7 billion in improvements to more than 1,700 miles of highway and 120 bridges statewide, which was already delivered.

"These projects will improve the quality of life for downstate residents and provide good jobs to grow our economy in every region," he said

Projects include the purchase of new vehicles as well as the construction of new bus shelters, stations and maintenance facilities.

Rides Mass Transit District in southern Illinois is slated to receive $9,825,000. With those funds, RMT is expected to:

• Upgrade all information technology items to replace existing end-of-life hardware and software items and include new remote capability technologies.

• Construct a 15,000-square-foot storage/maintenance facility in Carbondale. The proposed facility will support fixed-route and paratransit operations throughout the Carbondale urbanized area.

• Purchase heavy-duty bus and maintenance equipment, mobile lifts, bus and bus facility video systems. The benefits derived from the above equipment will have a positive impact on the transit system to operate reliably and safely.

• Purchase bus shelters and route supervisor minivans for the district's urbanized area. The shelters will provide protection to the riders from the elements. The minivans and operators will ensure fixed routes are operating properly and on time.

• Construct a new or purchase and remodel an existing multiuse vehicle storage maintenance and dispatch facility in Wayne County.

• Construct an operations and maintenance facility of 10,000 square feet in Olney, Illinois.

Rebuild Illinois identifies a total of $4.5 billion -- $3 billion in bonding and $1.5 billion in new pay-as-you-go funding -- to invest in transit throughout the state. Monday's announcement is the first installment of $355 million being distributed via grants in three cycles to transit providers outside the Chicago area. The remaining funds will be distributed in two more distributions, with the next call for proposals in 2021 and 2023.

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first one that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.