Senator VillivalamSPRINGFIELD – To lay the groundwork for a regional public transportation network, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) passed legislation in the Illinois Senate to require the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to submit legislative recommendations to achieve long-term financial viability for the network.

“We must strive to provide reliable access to public transit, and with it access to job opportunities, health care and other essentials,” Villivalam said. “Illinois must build an equitable future for public transportation that prioritizes all of our neighbors.”

Senate Bill 3848 requires CMAP to work in tandem with the Regional Transit Authority to submit legislative recommendations on how to ensure long-term funding for a regional public transportation system by Jan. 1, 2024. The legislation also requires RTA to better address racial equity, climate change and economic development in areas under its domain. CMAP and RTA are also required to include meaningful public input in their report.

The measure is an initiative of the Metropolitan Planning Council and is supported by the Active Transportation Alliance, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Environmental Council, Shared-Use Mobility Center and other advocates.

“This study will detail how we ensure the long-term sustainability of one of our most precious assets in Northeastern Illinois, public transportation,” said Darlene Hightower, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Planning Council. “It is imperative that the transit system has a strong foundation of the appropriate legislative, financial and governance structures to ensure it supports business, workers and residents as well as being a solution to the climate and equity issues that are bearing down on us.”

“Mass transit is vital to our economy and the financial viability of the transit system is essential to keeping our trains and buses running,” said Kelly Welsh, president of the Civic Committee and of the Commercial Club of Chicago. “This legislation will enable our transit system to continue to support workers, businesses, families, and communities.”

Senate Bill 3848 passed the Illinois Senate and awaits further consideration before the Illinois House.