Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of Northeastern Illinois Chairman Kirk Dillard has been chosen to receive APTA’s 2017 Local Distinguished Service Award.
“Chairman Kirk Dillard has been a positive force for public transportation in our region for decades, as a state senator and as the RTA Chairman,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Working collaboratively with the leaders of CTA, Metra, and Pace, he is a strong advocate for seeking the funding needed to maintain and improve our world-class transit system, including the historic modernization of Chicago’s Union Station. His efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of millions of people throughout the region and beyond.”
Dillard has a long history of “moving things forward” in Illinois. He is a life-long transit rider and regularly rides the RTA regional system from his suburban home to his offices in downtown Chicago, where he is a partner at Locke Lord LLP, one of Chicago’s oldest and largest law firms.
Before becoming RTA chairman in 2014, Dillard served as the Republican senator for the 24th District of the Illinois State Senate for nearly 20 years. During this time, he was widely known to work “across the aisle” to build consensus. As state senator, Dillard served on the Transportation Committee, was a strong supporter of public transportation, and the sponsor of the Secretary of State’s Railroad Safety Initiatives, which resulted in a significant drop in grade-crossing fatalities. Prior to serving as state senator, Dillard served with distinction as Chief of Staff to former Gov. Jim Edgar and as Legislative Director to former Gov. James Thompson.
Kasim Reed, the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta, was also honored with APTA’s Local Distinguished Service Award. As a champion for Atlanta and the state of Georgia, Mayor Reed serves on a number of advisory committees. He is Chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
For the past seven years, the Reed Administration has worked to build a better, more sustainable city that is ready to compete in the 21st century economy. The City of Atlanta is investing more than $550 million in infrastructure and transportation, which will put Atlanta on the path to be one of the most connected cities in the country. Through its “Renew Atlanta” and “TSPLOST” programs, Atlanta will eliminate an infrastructure backlog, modernize its transportation system, and expand the region’s transit system and mobility options for the first time in decades.