Government Issues

Ill. House Rep. calls for full funding of transit & passenger rail

Posted on March 25, 2015

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD), led a bipartisan letter to the THUD Subcommittee with 10 members of the Illinois House delegation urging full funding for mass transit and passenger rail in next year’s THUD budget.

In the letter to THUD Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ranking Member David Price (D-NC), Rep. Quigley wrote: “Today in Chicago, transit and rail as a whole generate an estimated $12 billion in annual economic benefits and 120,000 jobs to the region. “Without robust federal funding of transit and passenger rail, Illinois transportation systems will be subject to deteriorating roadbeds and equipment, bad on-time performance, increased traffic congestion, and loss of ridership and American jobs. I urge my colleagues on the THUD Subcommittee to fully fund the Amtrak and Intercity Rail Capital Assistance Programs in FY2016, improving access to public transit and passenger rail not only in Illinois but in communities throughout the nation.”

The Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Blue Green Alliance released a report earlier this year, "Passenger Rail & Transit Rail Manufacturing in the U.S.," outlining the economic benefits of increased investment in transit and passenger rail to Illinois, as well as the entire U.S.

“Investing in modern passenger rail improves mobility, creates Midwest manufacturing jobs, reduces pollution and pulls together the regional economy,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We commend this bipartisan group of Illinois legislators for their commitment in working to advance better passenger rail in the nation’s transportation crossroads. ELPC’s recent Passenger Rail & Transit Rail Manufacturing in the U.S. report shows the strong economic value for all.”

As Illinois’ only member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley has pushed for a long-term surface transportation bill and prioritized Chicago-area infrastructure investments as a member of the THUD Subcommittee.

Most recently, Rep. Quigley lead the effort to reauthorize the Railroad Safety Technology Grants Program, which provides critical funding for train control technologies and other new rail safety items. He fought for increased funding for the TIGER grant program to benefit both highways and pedestrian projects. Rep. Quigley helped secure $35 million in Core Capacity grants to benefit CTA and set aside $60 million in the FY14 omnibus available for Metra to implement safety improvements.

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