Transportation | WGLT

Transportation

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

A new high-speed passenger rail station has been completed in Dwight. Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn announced the completion.

The new station is among upgrades aimed at improving high-speed service between Chicago and St. Louis. 

Niklas Hellerstedt / Flickr

Authorities say an American Airlines plane caught fire and passengers evacuated on the runway at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro says American Airlines Flight 383 departed Chicago for Miami on Friday afternoon when it blew a tire and damaged an engine. Molinaro says the pilot aborted the takeoff and everyone evacuated. There were no injuries.

Television reports showed a large plume of black smoke coming from the Boeing 767, which appeared to be damaged at the rear. Evacuation chutes extended from the plane.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Residents of McLean County have mixed reactions about the possibility of a highway route running between I-74 and I-55. An environmental assessment of the project was discussed during a public hearing Wednesday night at Central Catholic High School.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Future development could someday trigger the need for an East Side Highway. But a new, detailed study of the environmental impact of the possible highway route located approximately a mile east of Towanda Barnes road includes suggestions that could push off the need for decades.  

L.A. Foodie / Flickr

A Chicago disability rights group has sued the mobile ride-hailing service Uber for allegedly violating U.S. laws mandating wheelchair accessibility.

The suit was filed Thursday in Chicago federal court on behalf of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago and several individuals. It seeks an order requiring that Uber comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide more wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Morten Wulf / Flickr

An Illinois group that wants to prevent transportation funds from being diverted elsewhere has spent about $2.5 million in television advertising to persuade voters to approve their idea.

Figures released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity show that Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding has spent the money to air their ads nearly 1,300 times this election cycle.

Feds Grant Illinois Waiver On Real ID

Oct 12, 2016
Creative Commons

Illinois is among 14 states that have received a year-long extension to comply with stricter federal requirements for driver's licenses and identification cards.

The extension means Illinois now has until Oct. 10, 2017 to comply with the 2005 Real ID act.

Roman Boed / Flickr

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission (MCRPC) is trying to gaze into the future, with the help of area residents. The MCRPC has launched a survey asking people to answer questions while imagining conditions 30 years into the future. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

The Unit Five School Superintendent hopes the district's bus contractor has turned the corner for on time performance.

Mark Daniel says there was only one bus late Wednesday morning and the contractor, First Student, has now settled a labor agreement with bus drivers that offers a raise, a signing bonus, and guaranteed hours per shift.

IPR

Illinois voters this fall will have a chance to amend the state constitution. The governor refuses to say whether he supports the change. 

Illinois has gotten into the habit of using money that was supposed to be used to fill pot holes, and instead using it to fill holes in the budget.

Road contractors and construction workers got sick of it, so they came up with an idea.  Put road money in a sort of "lock box."  Amend the constitution so it has to be used on transportation needs, and nothing else.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five Schools continue to have driver shortages for school buses this week.

And that has meant some students are still getting to school around an hour late.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Nearly two weeks after school began, officials at Unit 5 are still trying to sort out massive transportation problems that came following nearly a year of planning for different bus routes brought on by schedule changes and budget cuts.

The problem was so pervasive, more than 300 people packed a meeting room at Normal West High School last Wednesday night to complain. 

Staff / WGLT

Normal's mayor still likes the chances of improvements to Main Street despite the federal government's rejection of a grant proposal to improve the corridor.

Connect Transit

Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson is speaking out against the 2016 Republican Platform released last week at the Republican National Convention. The document calls for the removal of Highway Trust Fund money from public transit systems such as Connect Transit in Bloomington-Normal.

Ralph Timan

This weekend marks a year since Mitsubishi Motors told the community and its workers the auto plant in Normal would close.

Many workers have had tremendous changes in that year. Among them Ralph Timan and his wife Mitzi.

Creative Commons

The first anniversary of the announcement of the closure of the Mitsubishi Auto plant in Normal is this weekend.

GLT is revisiting the several former workers we've followed since then.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

If you drink and drive, you have a higher risk of getting caught in the Town of Normal than in most cities in the state.

Data from the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists show Normal police make more DUI arrests per officer than all but two other cities in Illinois.

J.P. Mueller / Creative Commons

The Mayor of Normal is giving Congressional testimony on the merits of high speed rail.

Chris Koos is appearing before the subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets of the Community on Oversight and Government Reform.

Connect Transit Announces Fee Restructure

Jun 29, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

People in Bloomington are reacting to fee changes proposed by Connect Transit. Under the plan, fixed route fares for one way riders, people with disabilities and senior citizens would remain the same along with one way fares for the Connect Mobility door-to-door service.

Staff

A six-month pilot project that will test limited bus service in northern Normal and southwestern Bloomington was approved by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees. The plan is to provide morning and afternoon service in those areas beginning in mid-August. Those areas would have been cut off by the route restructure slated for the fall.

Creative Commons

Some $2 billion in road construction projects will be shut down July 1 in Illinois without a state budget agreement. An Associated Press analysis of Illinois Department of Transportation data shows that collectively work on the 19 largest projects is less than halfway done in terms of money spent.

Uber / Flickr

A Chicago City Council committee has advanced plans to increase regulations for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.  

The proposal requires similar regulations on Uber and Lyft drivers as taxi drivers, including fingerprinting as part of a criminal background check. Drug tests and city debt checks would also be required.  

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Uber and Lyft officials have opposed the proposed regulations. The companies argue it'll cut into the number of drivers available. There are approximately 90,000 registered Uber and Lyft Drivers in Chicago.  

Michael Hill / WGLT

Connect Transit is asking for feedback on a proposal that would provide limited service to people that will be cut off when new routes and schedules are put in place this August. The plan would provide morning and afternoon service during peak times in northern Normal and southwestern Bloomington.

Flickr

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to spend about $2 billion on roads projects for the next fiscal year that starts July 1, if there's a budget. But, the lack of a deal could kill the construction season. That's what business leaders, contractors, laborers and other members of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition say.

Co-chair Todd Maisch, who's also CEO of the state Chamber of Commerce, says no spending on roads this summer would cause construction firms to close, or layoff workers. He says it's critical to have a budget deal by the end of the month.

Staff / WGLT

Some drivers might think a street with curbs, a center line, and plenty of room for traffic is a complete street. But a specific policy adopted by more 730 agencies across the U.S. involves much more.

Both Bloomington and Normal could have such a policy in place this summer that would change how the two communities view a street's uses and users.

Summer Slevin

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip and for one Illinois State University alum, it's time to shine with her name. You might remember GLT covering Summer Slevin's road trip across the U.S. last year, but she leaves for her second trip this Sunday.

Her last journey covering 21 states and 10 national parks was focused on nature and meeting new people. This time, she is hitting the road for a completely different reason.

James Nevin

A former track physician at the Indianapolis 500 race said drivers get the very best care possible in the event of crashes. In spite of 230 mile per hour speeds, Advocate BroMenn Vice President of Medical Management Jim Nevin said having board certified emergency physicians at track side and ambulances ready to roll mean there is a significant response advantage that people in ordinary car crashes don't have.

Marci Pritts

Jeff and Marci Pritts will spend the next year with their family in an RV they've named "Someday."

"There's one overwhelming response I think that we get and we have  kind of brought that into our trip a little bit," said Marci. "People often say 'I'd love to do that someday.' For that reason we named the RV 'Someday.' It's kind of a statement that that today can be someday. Just do it."

Creative Commons

The Illinois Secretary of State's office says a plan to issue driver's licenses and state identification cards in Illinois that are more secure won't require additional state funding. 

Michael Gorman

Elena Studier arrived at the 3rd floor WGLT studios by bike, rolling it off the elevator and down the hall.  Not surprising since she's using her bike to explore communities located along passenger rail corridors across the country.

Pages