transportation

After a harsh winter, potholes are an increasing problem along Illinois roadways.  Collisions can cause damage to cars such as flat tires or misalignment. Even steering around them can lead to erratic driving. AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher says a recent survey shows there’s a consensus on the impact of these road hazards. 

“The majority of Illinois drivers don’t think that our roads and bridges are well-funded but they don’t want to pay for the additional funding that’s likely needed to maintain and build better roads,” she said.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

With help from the federal government, Illinois will put more than $2 billion toward infrastructure projects this year across the state's network of roads and bridges. But that network is underfunded by billions more, and what the state has pledged is a far cry from fixing that.

"Chain Of Rocks Bridge" by Flickr User Chris Yunker / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois needs more money to cover its deteriorating transportation systems, but the federal government’s new infrastructure plan doesn’t offer much.

A recent report estimates the state will need close to $4.6 billion per year to bring roadways, bridges and transit systems up to working condition. One proposed solution: Illinois motorists and users of public transportation may have to shoulder the expenses. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation / greatlakesbasin.net

What’s the Great Lakes Basin Railroad and why should I care?

The GLBR is a proposed railway that, if you live in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, or northwest Indiana, you’ve either never heard of or have spent a lot of time learning about over the last year.

Under the current route proposal, the Great Lakes Basin Railroad would enter Kankakee County, Illinois, just below the Will County line, traveling west-southwest to enter Grundy County a couple of miles above its southern boundary.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

 

The argument for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad is that it will be an economic driver for the region.  But while some are enthusiastic about its potential, some are skeptical – including the railroads that are supposed to be its major clients.    

Great Lakes Basin Railroad lawyer Mike Blaszak says the line will be a boon for the railroads using it -- and for their customers. He cites the example of fracking sand that is mined in Wisconsin.  

"Construction For-ev-or" by Flickr User Kyle May / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois voters have approved a constitutional amendment aimed at making sure transportation-related funds aren't used for other purposes.

The measure was the only lawmaker-generated ballot measure this year and had bipartisan support.

The so-called ``lockbox amendment'' will keep funds generated through tolls, taxes and other related transportation sources from being spent elsewhere.

"Construction For-ev-or" by Flickr User Kyle May / (CC X 2.0)

An Illinois group that wants to prevent transportation funds from being diverted elsewhere has spent about $2.5 million for television advertising.

Figures released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity show that Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding spent the money to air their ads nearly 1,300 times this election cycle.

Since 2003, an estimated $6.8 billion in transportation funds generated by tolls, license fees and the gas tax have been used by state government for other things. That's according to the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The man behind an $8-billion plan to route train traffic around Chicago met with the public in a forum in Grundy County Monday night. Great Lakes Basin Railroad co-founder Frank Patton was in the hot seat. A very hot seat.

Reports: American, U.S. Airways Boards Approve Merger

Feb 13, 2013

The boards of AMR and US Airways have approved a merger Wednesday night that would create the world largest carrier, The Wall Street Journal is reportingciting "people familiar with the matter."

The paper reports that the merger will be formally announced Thursday.

Earlier today, Bloomberg reported on some of the terms of the deal:

Jacquilyn Stephens / WNIJ

$1.6 billion worth of transportation projects got the go-ahead today when Governor Pat Quinn signed a major capital improvements bill.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford’s bus system may have some big changes in store … but not before its riders get a chance to weigh in.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Leaders from throughout northern Illinois pitched their most important transportation projects to two Congressmen yesterday. Republicans Don Manzullo and Bobby Schilling will recommend priorities for federal transportation funding to Governor Pat Quinn’s office. 

Illinois lawmakers could consider a proposal this spring that would change how school districts are reimbursed for transportation costs. The state board of education is in the process of drawing up the plan. One idea being floated is to allow school districts to charge students to ride the bus.