Transportation | WGLT

Transportation

Connect Transit Loses Out On Grant

Nov 2, 2015
Jim Browne / WGLT

Connect Transit is looking at other options after being turned down for a federal TIGER Grant for a Downtown Bloomington transfer station. The grant would have replaced small shelters now on Front Street. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson says he's not discouraged.

Pet Potties At O'Hare

Oct 23, 2015

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has opened an indoor space for pets and service animals to do their business complete with artificial grass and miniature fire hydrants. In particular, the addition will make it easier for travelers with disabilities who will no longer have to go back out through security for their service animals to use the existing outdoor pet facilities. The pet relief room is located past security checkpoints in the rotunda area of Terminal 3. There are pop-up sprinklers to wash away liquid waste into a drain and plastic bags for cleanup.

Delays Keep Market Street Closed

Oct 22, 2015
Jim Browne / WGLT

It'll be a while longer before West Market Street in Bloomington opens to traffic and pedestrians. The city says problems with soil under the train trestle are causing another delay. Market Street was closed early this summer. Delays go back to the fall of 2014. Now the city says the street will open on November 7th instead of this weekend. Work on the trestle will enable high speed passenger trains to go over Market Street on the way between Chicago and St. Louis.

Teen Driving Deaths Drop

Oct 21, 2015

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says teenage driving deaths are down by nearly 60 percent in the state. The Democrat kicked off National Teen Driver Safety Week by announcing that is a new low since the state began the graduated driver's licensing program that took effect in 2008. Illinois Department of Transportation figures show there were 155 teen driving deaths in 2007. That number fell to 66 in 2014, a 57 percent decrease.

The company building a pipeline through McLean County has done some damage by having equipment hauling the pipe travel on rural roads that were not meant to handle machinery that heavy. County Board Transportation Committee Chair Jim Soeldner says Enbridge Energy will make reimbursement to fix the problems.

Soeldner says Enbridge is about 90% complete with the pipeline in McLean County. The route runs from Canada to southern Illinois and will carry thick tar sands oil to refineries.

Older people could be spending a greater chunk of their income on healthcare next year, based on a measure of inflation that depends on gas prices.

Since gas prices are low, most economists predict the federal government will not increase the cost of living adjustment, known as the COLA, for 2016. That means social security beneficiaries will continue to receive the same amount of money next year as they did this year.  

Mississippi River Gets Poor Grades

Oct 14, 2015
Green Fire Productions

A report card is out on the Mississippi River basin, and the grade is not good: a D+, with the river's aging transportation infrastructure topping the list of concerns. America's Watershed Initiative planned to release details of their report at a news conference Wednesday in St. Louis. An early synopsis was provided to The Associated Press. The report card assessed categories such as the abundance of clean water, flood control and risk, ecosystem health, the economy and recreation. The category of biggest concern was the condition of infrastructure such as locks and dams.

Transportation Leader Weighs In On Highway Funding

Oct 13, 2015
Staff / Connect Transit

Speaking in Normal, the President and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association says he's confident Congress will agree on money for the Highway Trust Fund. Michael Melaniphy says it's an issue that Democrats and Republicans can support.

Authorization to spend money from the Highway Trust Fund will run out on October 29 if no action is taken. The deadline is a result of a three month extension passed last July.

On the topic of infrastructure, Melaniphy said about 15 other countries rate higher than the US.  

New Rules On Old Tires

Oct 12, 2015

The Illinois Pollution Control Board has issued new rules about how to handle used tires. State officials say the rules will apply to operators of tire disposal and storage sites and facilities that retread, stamp and die-cut tires. The rules are meant to protect from tire fires and breeding of disease-carrying mosquitoes from standing water in tires. The rules will require operators to change the way they store used tires both indoors and outdoors. The rules also will give emergency responders easier access to tire piles in case there's a fire or other emergency.

IDOT Cold Weather Plans On Hold

Oct 8, 2015
Teddy Wade

There'll be fewer orange signs on Illinois' roadways as construction season winds down and winter approaches. But the longer the state's budget impasse goes on, come spring, the Illinois Department of Transportation might not be able to fix all the damage the cold, snow and ice will do to the state's highway system this winter.

Linda Healy/WGLT

Ray LaHood spent more than two decades in Congress and served another 4 1/2 years as President Barack Obama's first Secretary of Transportation. Next month, his book, “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics” is being released.

He spoke in Normal Wednesday to the Illinois chapter of the American Planning Association state conference. But before that, he stopped by the GLT studios to discuss transit funding, politics and life after governmental service with WGLT's Willis Kern.

IL AG Seeks Details From Volkswagen

Oct 1, 2015
Flickr user David Villarreal Fernandez via Creative Commons

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office has asked for detailed information from Volkswagen in an investigation conducted by dozens of state attorneys general.

Construction at a major Interstate 74 junction has given Tazewell County a windfall: $1.2 million over three years. County Administrator Wendy Ferrill says the revenue from 4,600 tickets for speeding and using cellphones in a work zone softens the blow of the state budget standoff. Tickets for speeding went from eight per month in 2012 to 74 per month in 2013, and 129 per month last year. This year, motorists are getting fewer citations: the monthly average is nearly 100 speeding tickets. Ferrill says some of the money could go toward a new squad car for the sheriff's department.

License Renewal Notifications To End

Sep 28, 2015

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says his office will suspend mailing reminder notices on renewing motor vehicle registrations because there's still no state budget. White said Monday that interrupting the mailing service will save about $450,000 a month. White sent Gov. Bruce Rauner a letter last week warning of potential major problems at government facilities related to the budget standoff. He says vendors aren't being paid and are threatening to suspend services. He also worries that utilities could be shut off at the state Capitol in Springfield.  

The proposed new budget for McLean County government is 4% higher than last year. County Administrator Bill Wasson says the increase of 3.7 million dollars will go to several areas including the jail renovation and expansion, the Towanda Barnes road widening effort, new phones for the ETSB, and courtroom audio system replacement.

The budget includes a 1.5% pay increase. Four jobs will be cut including one sheriff's deputy, and staff in the state's attorneys and child protection service offices because of state grant cuts.

Delays Keep Market Street Closed

Sep 3, 2015
cityblm

Twin city drivers anxious to begin using West Market Street again following railroad trestle work will have to wait a bit longer. The rail upgrade was originally supposed to begin in the fall of 2014, but was repeatedly delayed. Work by Union Pacific, owner of the tracks, finally began this spring and completion was estimated for Labor Day. Now it looks more like Halloween, maybe. Bloomington City Engineer Jim Karch says one reason for the delay is a change the city sought to increase visibility by employing a 'sloped wall,' replacing the old vertical retaining wall:

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