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A Stronger Transportation Infrastructure


Since transportation capital is largely funded at the state level, the city needs to be an advocate for sufficient, sustainable funding in the Illinois General Assembly, especially for transit. Plain and simple: investing in transit is good for our economy and results in economic growth. Chicago-region studies show that for every dollar invested in transit yields between $1.21-$3 in economic returns, and has significant benefits to residents, employers and communities including more jobs, less traffic, higher property values, and improved air quality to name a few.

Currently, 31 percent of the Regional Transportation Authority’s transit system is beyond its useful life. We need sufficient, sustainable funding to bring our mature transit system into a state of good repair and to expand our network so transit remains an attractive choice in Chicago.

Recommendation: Be a vocal and active advocate for sustainable transportation funding at the state level and help ensure a minimum of 30 percent of funds is allocated to transit. Illinois also needs a set of policies to help ensure that we are using data and transparent processes to make our investments. Additionally, the Mayor can play a major role in cultivating large and small employers to vocally support new funding for transit.


100 Day Actions

Additional Considerations

Why the time is right

Illinois needs to increase sustainable revenue for transportation to stay competitive and to return to economic growth, and we need funding sources that will increase on an annual basis so that the system can be maintained and adapted to changing needs.

It is critical that any legislation include at least 30 percent of new transportation funding for transit given the importance of transit to the quality of life for Chicago residents, and the strong relationship between transit and the economy (see MPC’s Transit Means Business report).  The transit system is in dire need of capital investment to continue to operate reliably and safely.

What it will take

The city needs to influence decision makers at the state level so they develop strong sustainable, multimodal transportation funding legislation.  A range of stakeholders need to be involved that support transit, including the business community that relies on transit to access talent, labor groups representing workers, the transportation community and the environmental community.

Alignment with other Initiatives and Priorities of City or Partners

It is critical that the legislation have a high share of funding dedicated to transit because of its paramount role in the economic health of this region and the quality of life of residents: