Chicago is set to get more than $1.2 billion for infrastructure projects from state and federal taxpayers.
The majority comes from the state's recently enacted infrastructure plan, which doubled the state’s gas tax.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined state, local and federal officials Tuesday at A. Phillip Randolph Elementary School in Chicago to tell students about projects the infrastructure program, which is funded through increased taxes and fees, will pay for in the Windy City.
“Through Rebuild Illinois we dedicated $140 million to the Green and Blue lines of the CTA,” Pritzker said. “We committed over $600 million to the Kennedy Expressway and another $90 million for the circle intersection at Stoney Island Avenue and 95th.”
Pritzker also said the CREATE program, which stands for Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency, will get $400 million from Rebuild Illinois for the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project.
CREATE brings together governments from all levels in Chicago and the nation’s railroads for investments in infrastructure improvements, the group said on its website.
“The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (75th St. CIP) is CREATE’s largest and most significant project,” according to the website. “The 75th St. CIP will deliver transportation, economic and environmental benefits in the Chicago neighborhoods of West Englewood, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Chatham, Roseland, Washington Heights, Auburn Gresham, Ashburn and Chicago Lawn in addition to the project’s regional and national benefits.”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin gave a brief lesson about why infrastructure investment focused on the region’s railways was important.
“Railroads are here in this part of the country because we’re smack dab in the middle of America and people who want to move things from one side to the other come through Chicago,” Durbin said.
He said federal tax dollars will also be going to the CREATE program to help move 125 trains a day through the 75th Street corridor in Chicago.
“That’s what the CREATE project is all about, investing $132 million of federal dollars to make sure that we can efficiently move these trains back and forth,” Durbin said.
The project is in Phase II with final project specifications and estimates. The group plans to share timelines and details for the construction phase during an open house on Oct. 30 in Chicago. An announcement Tuesday said the project was anticipated to last through 2024.
CREATE also announced an educational program.
"As part of the CREATE partners' investment in the neighborhood, Norfolk Southern has donated $40,000 directly to Chicago Public Library Foundation for the CyberNavigator and Teacher in the Library programs at Kelly Branch Library and Thurgood Marshall Branch Library, respectively," a statement said. "Collectively, the CREATE partners will also donate $200,000 to enhance existing educational programs Chicagoans can access for free at parks and libraries in the neighborhoods around the project."