Voters Approve Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment on November 8 Ballot
80% of Illinois voters strongly supported the Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment on November 8th. The amendment states that all state monies raised through various transportation related levies such as gas tax, tolls, license fees, and vehicle registration costs would be put in what amount to a budget "lockbox". The money could only be spent on road construction and repair, paying off debt on transportation projects, but not apply to state and local sales taxes that are added on top of the gas tax motorists pay at the pump.
The state legislature will need to provide legislation to enact the amendment. This provision should also insure voters that future transportation funding proposals will only go for transportation uses. The TMA Board of Directors also support the proposal.
State and Federal Infrastructure Initiatives
President- Elect Trump has proposed a massive infrastructure program to rebuild our transportation system and other decaying infrastructure. Details on the proposal are being developed, and it appears some elements will include public-private funding initiatives. We also hope the state budget impasse will be resolved in 2017 so the stage can be set for a needed state capital/transportation bill. Stay tuned! The TMA will keep you updated, as we receive information.
TMA Shuttle Bug Program
The TMA has finalized our agreements with Pace and participating employers, and will move forward in continuing our Shuttle Bug program with area employers on 13 Routes providing over 1000 daily trips accessing 7 Metra stations and 1 CTA Station. We've also continued expanded service on Route 640 Braeside Station-Commercial Avenue Shuttle Bug to include both Baxter and Walgreens's Northbrook facility to access the Braeside Metra station on the Union Pacific North Line. TMA is also continuing our RTA grant with a focus on developing shuttle service in the Oakbrook area utilizing smaller Pace buses. Finally, the TMA is working with Village of Bannockburn and Rt. 22 employers and Pace to expand shuttle services/last mile connections.
Winter is upon us so all of us need to commute safe and smart. The Farmer's Almanac prediction for a snowy Midwest winter has already happened in December. Here are some websites that may help with commuting options and travel conditions:
American Automobile Association (AAA) Winter Driving Tips
Chicago Area Transit Information:
- RTA ( Regional Transportation Authority) Trip Planner
- Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
- Pace Rideshare
Road and Traffic Conditions:
- State of Illinois
- State of Wisconsin
- Chicago area, Southeast Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana
- Lake County, IL
There are also APPS for many of these sites.
I-90-Tollway & Pace Bus Expansion
In 2016, the Illinois Tollway is scheduled to complete roadway work between the Elgin Toll Plaza and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) delivering 62 miles of newly rebuilt and widened lanes as part of the $2.5 billion Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) Rebuilding and Widening Project. Construction also includes continued work to expand and improve interchanges, to reconstruct the Fox River Bridge and replace local crossroad bridges on the I-90 corridor. For more information, visit illinoistollway.com
In addition to the Tollway roadwork transit will also play an important role in the I-90 corridor. On December 19, 2016, Pace launched phase 2 of the I-90 Market Expansion Program, which includes six new bus routes (Express Routes 603, 605 and 607; Local Routes 604, 608 and 611); improvements to service on five existing routes (550, 600, 606, 610 and 616); a new Park-n-Ride at I-90 and Randall Road; and 25 new 40' express buses. These new buses will have free Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, and comfortable high-back seating, interior overhead storage. Convenient connections to O-Hare and Chicago are available via the CTA Blue Line at the Rosemont Transit Center. For more information, visit Pace's website at www.pacebus.com.
Rte. 53/120 Extension
Tollway staff are reviewing consultant proposals to complete an Environmental Impact Study for the 53/120 Corridor. The Tollway Board will review their recommendations and hopefully select a consultant in 2017.
Metra Fare Increase
Metra is planning fare increase effective February 1, 2017. Increase ranges from 2.4 to 12.3% based on fare media and zone. Funding will be used to help fund Positive Train Control(PTC) safety system and pay for needed capital improvements.
Finally, I will be retiring as TMA Executive Director at the end of 2016, and my Assistant Tim Grzesiakowski will be taking over as the new Executive Director in January 2017. I will continue on a part time basis for a short time to help in the transition. I want to thank all our Board members and many others whom I have worked with over all these years to make the TMA a great success to improve employees commute to work. Tim has worked with me and many of our members over the last two years and I feel very confident that the leadership transition will work smoothly.