USDOT Moves Forward on ‘Multi-Modal’ Vision

3941789266_351dae463aYesterday, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, announced the 51 projects—a mix of highways to boulevards projects, complete streets initiatives, streetcars and light-rail projects, and innovative highway funding—that will receive federal funding from the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program, which was funded by $1.5 billion included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). According to Sec. LaHood, awards went to “projects that create jobs, stimulate economic activity, and help develop livable communities.”

USDOT continues to affirm its commitment to fund innovative transportation projects that focus on multi-modal transport, reducing greenhouse gases and creating livable communities; simultaneously addressing economic, environmental and travel issues.

In particular, the Chicago region is poised to benefit greatly from a $100 million investment into the CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program.

CREATE’s package of 78 projects, designed by the City of Chicago, IDOT, Metra, AMTRAK and the freight railroads serving Chicago, aim to unsnarl the bottlenecks in the region’s railroad system—a major U.S. hub that handles nearly 1300 freight and passenger trains every day. Rail moves people and freight through the region with the least negative environmental impact, and hundreds of thousands of Chicago area jobs depend directly or indirectly on rail transportation.

The south suburban communities—Blue Island, Harvey, Dixmoor, Dolton, Riverdale—that CNT has been working with to redevelop by building homes, retail and office businesses around their rail assets will see the benefits of additional capacity and improved connections of the region’s rail traffic. These include communities that are building homes, stores and offices around their train stations in transit oriented development (TOD), and communities revitalizing industrial parks with the added value of good access to freight rail in cargo oriented development (COD).

The types of projects through the TIGER program show that the USDOT has recognized the return from funding transit. CNT’s second analysis of the jobs created from the ARRA shows that investments in public transportation projects have created almost twice as many jobs per dollar as investments in highways–and the advantage is growing. Through these TIGER grants, we are witnessing a Department of Transportation that not only considers how to move people and goods around, but how to create jobs, stimulate economic development, reduce environmental impact—with its sights set on innovation. This gives added meaning to ‘multi-modal’!

CNT is also pleased that Tucson, Arizona is receiving TIGER funding for a modern streetcar line that will connect the city’s major activity centers, a step toward lowering residents’ household transportation costs. Our 2009 report on the “Housing + Transportation Affordability in the Tucson Metro Area” provided data the City of Tuscon and Pima County are utilizing to help plan future transit development and make the case for the economic benefits it would generate.

2 Responses to “USDOT Moves Forward on ‘Multi-Modal’ Vision”

  1. Katie Armstrong Says:

    “projects that create jobs,stimulate economic activity and help develop livable communities” quote from Ray LaHood . Absolutely . However our suburbs have been very negatively impacted by the Canadian Northern Railway.s purchse of the EJ&E line which
    had been planned by citizens and planners to be the Star Line, passenger, commuter, expanding job possibilities,10 or twelve trains per day connecting people on the suburban arc of the metropolitan area.

    According to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement
    the entire project will “reduce total employment
    in the Chicago area by 280 jobs” ” Freight handler to the nation” seems to require little labor in our age of automation. Employment estimates were changed in final reports without any explanation.

    The number of trains will increase from 10 TO
    30. CN’s states purpose and need to benefit from
    rail transportation services for ” North American
    steel, chemical and petrochemical industries “.The
    major portion of the freight is hazardous materials.
    In my town ,thirty trains per day mostly tank cars carrying hazardous materials will pass through residential neighborhoods within blocks of parks and
    schools and over four wellhead protection zones .

    Traffic delays, pollution( have you seen the latest
    reports),noise ,train derailments and
    possible contamination of the aquifer which supplies our water do not fulfill the goals of economic growth, environmental protection and
    livable communities.

    Shipping hazardous materials in residential areas
    and over wellhead protecton zones must be banned.
    Water is more valuable and irreplaceable than anything transported in tank cars.

    Good neighborhoods are the goal of planners.
    Intermodal transportation centers need to be
    located a half day’s drive from the city and
    suburbs,so the truck drivers can get home at night and so as not to deteriorate the quality of neighborhood life of our metropolitan area.

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