Originally published in Chicago Sun-Times on Aug. 12, 2022.

Illinois is set to drive $34.6 billion into improving roads, bridges, airports, transit, rail and ports across Illinois over the next six years.

The Illinois Department of Transportation released details of the multi-year investment program on Friday.

Gov. J.B Pritzker said the program would direct $20 billion of that toward transportation, including 2,500 miles of roads and almost 10 million square feet of bridge deck.

Another $10 billion will go toward the state’s rail and transit systems, airports and ports.

Much of IDOT’s funding for this program is coming from the state’s $45 billion Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, but almost $16 billion more is expected to come in from the federal government.

“Since I signed our historic, bipartisan infrastructure program into law, Rebuild Illinois has undertaken a massive transformation of our state’s transportation systems,” Pritzker said, calling the multi-year program “an investment in our future — one that leads to economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.”

Among the details:

  • $6.36 billion for highway reconstruction and preservation.
  • $6.4 billion for bridge improvements.
  • $2.48 billion for system support, such as engineering and land acquisition.
  • $1.55 billion for safety and system modernization.

“In Chicago, we’re reconstructing Bessie Coleman Drive to I-90, which will improve safety and access to O’Hare International Airport,” Pritzker said.

As the state enters its fourth year of Rebuild Illinois, IDOT has made about $8.6 billion in improvements statewide on 4,422 miles of highway, 412 bridges and 621 additional safety improvements.

“Look, for many, many years before I took office, the state underinvested in our infrastructure, and it was left to crumble.” Pritzker said. “It was costing drivers an average of over $500 a year in flat tires and wear and tear from potholes and misaligned pavement. And, it was costing us jobs.”

Pritzker also announced an additional program, separate from IDOT’s six-year plan, that will combine federal, state and local funds to go toward other modes of transportation. That includes $6.5 billion for transit, $2.5 billion for passenger and freight rail, $817 million for aviation and $150 million for ports.

“With this investment, Illinois is working toward its commitment to delivering equitable, data-driven solutions to our transportation and infrastructure needs,” said state Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), chairman of the IIlinois Senate Transportation Committee. “Coupled with federal funding, we will improve our infrastructure to ensure safety, accessibility, and responsible economic and environmental impact.”