Illinois awards $111.4 million in Rebuild Illinois grants to transit projects

Jan. 27, 2022
The state grants will help 37 non-Chicago area transit agencies advance 51 projects.

The state of Illinois has awarded $111.4 million to 37 transit agencies located outside of the Chicago area. The funding is part of Rebuild Illinois, a capital spending bill passed into law in 2019 to improve the state’s transportation network.

The transit funding awarded will help transit agencies in the state make vehicle, technology, equipment and facility investments. The office of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted the investment will allow agencies to expand and improve service, provide more transportation options in downstate communities and promote an enhanced quality of life.

"When the General Assembly and I crafted the most robust infrastructure plan in Illinois history, our vision wasn't limited to simply updating highways, rails and bridges. We saw an opportunity to connect jobs and economic development to communities across the state through every mode of transportation," said Gov. Pritzker.

The governor announced the funding on Jan. 26, 2022, at an event held at St. Clair County Transit District’s (SCCTD) Illinois Bus Garage. SCCTD will receive a $9.975 million grant that will be used to build a 16,000-square-foot public safety center at Emerson Park Transit Center with construction set to begin in early 2022. The public safety center will house space for St. Clair County MetroLink Sheriff’s Deputies, the Metro Transit Operational Control Center and CENCOM West, St. Clair County 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch Center.

“We are grateful for this funding and how it will positively impact public transportation and the community at large,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees of SCCTD Herb Simmons. “This facility, it’s amenities and the operations within will enable St. Clair County District to better serve riders – not only in St. Clair County but across the entire MetroLink alignment – while helping to bolster communications and security collaboration among Metro Transit, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Metro Transit Public Safety, the Bureau of Transit Police and other public safety partners.”

In addition to SCCTD’s transit center, the Rebuild Illinois funding will help a total of 51 projects advance, including:

  • $16 million for the renovation and expansion of Rockford Mass Transit District’s transit facility at 520 Mulberry St. This project was also the single highest grant awarded.
  • $3 million for new administrative and operations facility for CRIS Rural Mass Transit District in Danville, Ill.
  • $4 million for a new facility to accommodate administration, dispatch, mechanics and secure parking for the vehicle fleet for Kendall County’s Kendall Area Transit.
  • $28,000 for new bus tablets for use on Shawnee Mass Transit District, which is the smallest grant awarded in this round.

This is the second round of transit grants awarded through Rebuild Illinois. In November 2020, the state awarded more than $112 million to 31 non-Chicago area transit agencies. A third and final round of grant opportunities for downstate transit needs is anticipated in 2022.

"These awards to our ports and transit systems will only strengthen our status as the multimodal transportation hub of North America," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "Through Rebuild Illinois, Gov. Pritzker and IDOT continue to improve the state's transportation system by seeking out the best projects that do the most good and getting our partners at the local level the resources they need to deliver them."

A full list of transit grant recipients can be viewed by visiting IDOT's Public Transportation Providers page.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.