Pace Federal Project Update

Major capital improvements are on the way for Pace thanks to signing of SAFETEA-LU bill.

On August 10th, President George W. Bush visited Montgomery, IL--one of the 210 municipalities served by Pace Suburban Bus--to sign the major, six-year federal surface transportation authorization bill. U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert welcomed President Bush to his congressional district and was flanked by many key members of Congress who authored the legislation, as well as members of both parties from the Illinois Congressional delegation.

The long-awaited bill is a boon to Pace and public transportation in northeastern Illinois. In all, Pace was awarded seven earmarked projects, two of which were authorized and five of which had dollar amounts obligated. The projects are:

Project Name Allocation Sponsor
Cermak Road Bus Rapid Transit $1,250,000 Sen. Obama
Pace bus purchase $836,000 Cong. Davis
Cicero Ave Transit Signal Priority $836,000 Cong. Rush
Rand Road Transit Signal Priority $668,800 Cong. Bean
South Suburban Bus Rapid Transit $418,000 Cong. Jackson
Cermak Road Bus Rapid Transit n/a Cong. Davis
Golf Road Bus Rapid Transit n/a Sen. Durbin
Total $4,008,800  

The last two projects were included under New Fixed Guideway Projects, Preliminary Engineering, commonly referred to as "New Starts." They are now eligible for future federal funding in subsequent appropriations bills. More information on these projects can be found on the following pages.

Our sister agencies, Metra and CTA, also received several earmarks. The region as a whole will also be the recipient of an estimated $500 million more in formula capital funding over the six-year life of the bill than it received under TEA-21. Speaker Hastert and the members of the Illinois delegation were tremendously successful in doing their part to make sure that transit agencies can make the capital improvements necessary to better serve the 8 million people who live in northeastern Illinois.

Pace wishes to thank the sponsors of these projects for their overwhelming support of this agency.

Transit Technologies for the Future: Bus Rapid Transit

Buses, unlike trains, get stuck in traffic and, as any of the millions of people who drive on the roadways in northeastern Illinois every day can attest, the traffic in this region causes delays, frustration and real economic costs to individuals and businesses. However, through federal investment, Pace seeks to equip its buses with special transit signal priority (TSP) technology that will allow buses to shorten red lights and extend green lights at designated intersections.

TSP shortens travel times for passengers, improves on-time performance of buses and - perhaps most significantly - reduces Pace's operating costs, which limits the need for service reductions in the future. TSP already exists on Cermak Road in Cicero and Berwyn and Pace's operating costs are now up to 21% less on that bus route. In addition, TSP requires only a modest investment of capital funding - mere pocket change compared to the cost of building a new rail line.

TSP can be considered one aspect of Bus Rapid Transit.

Pace hopes to implement traffic signal priority on many of the major roadway corridors in the six-county region, and has requested the Members of Congress from the region to sponsor in the transportation reauthorization bill individual projects that benefit their districts. Now that the federal SAFETEA-LU bill ihas become law, several of these projects will receive federal funding! Contact information for the Illinois congressional delegation is included with each project description. The projects requested were:

*As relates to cost figures: The benefits of transit signal priority can be realized incrementally, on a corridor-by-corridor basis, even if the maximum appropriation is not received. Because the project costs approximately $15,000 per intersection to fully implement, Pace can implement the project in segments if need be, and still reap the full benefits of the project on those segments.


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