Tag Archives: legislation

Illinois is missing a big part of the long-term solution to high gas prices

Mar 23, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

With gas prices surging, Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker need to step up and make it safer and easier for people to walk, bike, and ride public transit. The media is saturated with stories of outrage about the cost of gasoline and official proposals to lower prices. This way of looking at the issue inevitably ignores how the intentional development of our car-centric, sprawling region contributed to this problem – and how alternative forms of transportation can be part of the solution. It’s on all of us as transportation equity and sustainability advocates to demand a better approach.  WHAT’S HAPPENING  The average price of gas in metro Chicago is heading toward $5 per gallon and is expected to continue to...

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2021

Dec 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

In year two of the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago area residents continued to adapt to a changing world and adjusted their transportation habits and expectations for this new reality. Through it all, the Active Transportation Alliance worked with our community partners and legislative allies to fight for more residents to have access to safe, convenient, affordable, and sustainable transportation options. Here’s a look back at 10 of the most important walking, biking, and transit stories and advocacy victories of the year. 1. FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL DELIVERS BILLIONS TO CHICAGO AREA In November President Biden signed into law a historic national infrastructure bill that includes unprecedented levels of funding for public transit, walking, and biking. While the bill was being developed, Active Trans and...

Chicago must advance equity and sustainability with new federal transportation funds

Nov 22, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The Infrastructure Investment in Jobs Act (IIJA) provides a historic opportunity for the Chicago area to move beyond car-centric planning and advance racial and environmental justice through transportation investments.  Now we need to make sure regional leaders take advantage of this opportunity. We can’t afford to see these funds go to wasteful roadway projects that only worsen the inequity in our regional transportation system.  This week Active Trans joined a coalition of 12 civic and environmental advocates that is calling for our transportation agencies in the region to develop an inclusive and transparent approach in determining which projects to put forward for newly available federal funds. This inclusive and transparent approach should center the projects' impacts on racial equity and climate change.  Following are excerpts from the letter, which was...

Bill eliminating local match for walk/bike infrastructure becomes law

Aug 31, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Illinois law now requires the state to cover 100 percent of the cost of walking and biking infrastructure when it's needed on state roads. Illinois House Bill 270 took effect on Tuesday, August 30, after it passed the legislature in May with strong bipartisan majorities. Active Transportation Alliance championed the legislation along with Ride Illinois and Metropolitan Planning Council. Until now, Illinois policy dictated that when a state road is getting rebuilt, municipalities had to cover 20 percent of the cost of needed walking and biking infrastructure. This resulted in critical elements like sidewalks and bike lanes getting stripped out of the final design because towns couldn't afford the match — especially low-income communities. Now, thanks to the efforts of...

Take action now to restore $10 billion in federal transit funding cuts

Aug 20, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The infrastructure bill that passed the U.S. Senate in August cut $10 billion that would have gone toward public transit — and that was $10 billion that was already agreed to by both parties. This is just one reason the bill is woefully inadequate in creating a cleaner and more equitable transportation network. We need the House to hold the line and honor the original commitment. Either by amending the Senate bill or as part of a budget reconciliation package, Congress must — at a minimum — provide an additional $10 billion for public transit to fulfill their promise to our communities.  We are also urging Congress to commit to funding transit operations so agencies are less reliant on rising fares and...

Why Congress must deliver ongoing operations support for Chicago-area transit

Jun 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

All residents of the Chicago region deserve access to reliable, affordable public transportation, no matter where they live. Imagine a region where every community has great bus and train service that can safely and conveniently get you to work, school, shopping, church, or anywhere else you need to go; a place where you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars per year owning and operating a car. Putting every resident within reach of frequent transit service is possible — we just need to fund it. PROBLEM Today, the only federal funding provided for transit in large metro areas like Chicago is for maintenance or expansion projects — not the day-to-day costs of running buses and trains. Operating expenses represent two-thirds...

Victory! Illinois legislators eliminate local match for walk/bike infrastructure

Jun 1, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Update (8/30/21): Illinois House Bill 270 is now law. Effective August 30th, the state will cover 100 percent of the cost of walking and biking infrastructure on state roads. After many months of effort from advocates and legislators, the Illinois House and Senate passed a bill mandating that the state cover 100 percent of the cost of walking and biking infrastructure on state roads, just like they do for cars and trucks.  Active Trans championed the legislation along with Ride Illinois and the Metropolitan Planning Council. The bill is now being sent to Governor Pritzker’s desk and should be signed into law this summer. It passed with strong bipartisan majorities in both chambers.  HOW IT HAPPENED  Advocates from across Illinois stepped up...

Why Illinois should eliminate the local match for walking and biking infrastructure

May 20, 2021 | by Active Trans

The following post is excerpted from George Fero's recent testimony before the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee about House Bill 270, which eliminates the 20 percent local cost share for walking and biking infrastructure. Fero serves as an alderman on the city council in Lebanon, a Southern Illinois town with about 4,500 residents. He also serves on the board of the statewide bike advocacy organization Ride Illinois and is vice-president of Gateway East Trails, his local walking and biking advocacy group. ___________________________________________________ The City of Lebanon, with a population of just under 5,000, is located at the eastern edge of metropolitan St. Louis, at the crossroads of US highway 50 and Illinois Route 4. Both highways are maintained by IDOT. We...

Take action now for more sidewalks and bike lanes on state roads

May 17, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

After passing in the Illinois House of Representatives last month, our bill — HB 270 — to eliminate the local cost share for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads has now passed out of committee in the Illinois Senate. But there's only two weeks left in the legislative session and we need to make sure it's called to the floor for a vote. ___________________________________________________ Please ask your senator to co-sponsor HB 270 and vote for it when it's called on the floor.  ____________________________________________________ Under current law, when the state is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for car and trucks, such as travel lanes and markings. But if the state’s analysis determines...

Action alert: More senators needed to co-sponsor bill to make state roads safer

Mar 26, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The Illinois House is advancing Active Trans' bill to eliminate the local share of the costs for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads, but the state senate has yet to take action on it. We need your help to make sure the senate takes action. One way to show broad support is to recruit more co-sponsors of the legislation. Under current law, when the state of Illinois is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for cars and trucks, such as travel lanes and road markings. But if the state’s analysis determines a sidewalk, side path, or bike lane should be added and there’s community support for it, then the local community is...