Local leaders are heading to Washington, D.C., next month to lobby for two new community projects.
Economic Development Council CEO Kyle Ham said on GLT's Sound Ideas the annual One Voice trip will focus on two major transportation projects in Bloomington-Normal, including a new transfer center for buses.
“To have a Connect Transit transfer station in Downtown Bloomington is much needed to help provide better busing and service to large capacities of folks who use the downtown area,” Ham said.
The task force is also seeking funding for a railroad underpass to connect the north and south sides of the train tracks in Uptown Normal.
Lobbying for two related projects isn’t customary, but Ham said it’s justified in this case.
“We historically have not tried to take two transportation related (projects), but we feel that there is enough support, communitywide, for both,” Ham said.
Ham said there is potential for Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for both projects. The Town of Normal has already submitted a 2017 TIGER grant application, but the search for funding for the transfer station in Bloomington is still in its beginning phase.
While funding is the focus of the trip, the task force is also just trying to keep the conversation going.
“From the concept to where it does end up with a shovel in the ground, many times, these things take years—you know, five, seven, 10 years,” Ham said. “So if you’re not planning, if you’re not talking about it, you’re not on the radar.”
Area leaders also want to work towards a customs operation for corporate and general aviation at the Central Illinois Regional Airport and expand opportunities for small businesses in McLean County.
The One Voice trip will take place March 6-8.
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