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CREATE program seeks $300-million TIGER Grant

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The Illinois Department of Transportation said it is seeking $300 million in federal stimulus funds for a package of 16 projects that are part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program. CREATE is a first-of-its-kind partnership bringing together Illinois DOT, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Association of American Railroads. Illinois DOT is eligible for the funding under the federal Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition to the $300 million being sought via the federal TIGER grant, CREATE partners also have committed to an additional 39 percent match in funding - $117.4 million in state and private monies - for the program of projects outlined in the application.

"The Illinois Department of
Transportation has worked long and hard to preserve rail across the state of
Illinois" said Governor Pat Quinn. "I believe the CREATE program is
an essential element for economic development and job creation. For that
reason, I support the Illinois Department of Transportation’s application for
$300 million in TIGER Discretionary Grant funds."

"As the nation’s rail hub,
the performance of Chicago’s rail network has a profound impact on rail
movement nationwide. The efficient movement of goods is critical to our
nation’s economy and the quality of life of our citizens and visitors," said
Mayor Richard M. Daley.

"These projects will
greatly improve the efficiency and operability of moving both freight and
people by rail through the region," said AAR President and CEO Edward
Hamberger. "CREATE is a project of critical importance to the national freight
and passenger rail network, and this public-private partnership is truly
historic."

The program outlined in the
TIGER grant application – ranging in scope from rail line improvements to a
grade separation to viaduct improvements – will have tremendous economic,
livability, sustainability and safety benefits. With completion by 2012, this
program will support roughly 4,500 job years. In addition, the application
details the following benefits:

 Economic Benefits:

• 17,684 hours in annual
freight rail delay reductions

• $265.0 million in annual
logistics cost savings

Livability Benefits:

• reduced annual passenger
rail delays by 57,631 passenger hours and $1.4 million in costs

• reduced annual motorist
delays by 344,499 hours and $8.5 million in costs

Sustainability Benefits:

• reduced diesel
consumption by 2.9 million gallons each year

• reduced emissions from
locomotives and vehicles due to improved efficiency and delay reduction

• $2.5 million annual costs
savings associated with emissions reduction and reduced diesel consumption

Safety Benefits:
• improved vehicle safety and crash
prevention

As a project of regional
and national significance, CREATE has received tremendous support from lawmakers,
public and private organizations and trade unions from across the U.S. For
example, CREATE has received letters of support from as far away as Los Angeles
and Long Beach, Calif. – vital U.S. port locations that often see originating
shipments that travel through Chicago

With significant passenger
and freight rail movements located in his district, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski
(D-Ill.) has long been a supporter of the CREATE project.

"CREATE is critically
important to the Chicago region, the state, and the entire nation," said
Congressman Dan Lipinski, who is Northeastern Illinois’ only member of the
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "That is why I have
continued to lead the effort in Washington and here at home to help fund
CREATE, successfully securing $100 million in federal funding in 2005 as well
as working with state leaders to allocate $300 million for the program in the
recently passed state capital bill. Moreover, I am already working with members
of the Transportation Committee to secure additional funding for CREATE in the
next highway and transit authorization bill. This application for stimulus
funds, if successful, will build on the important investment we have already
made to reduce congestion while creating good paying local jobs and improving
safety."

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