MetroLINK will receive more than $10.3 million in Build Illinois funding including $6 million to replace six of its buses with new zero emission buses, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The money, which MetroLink applied for in July 2022, will add six new battery electric buses to a fleet that is […]
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MetroLINK will receive more than $10.3 million in Build Illinois funding including $6 million to replace six of its buses with new zero emission buses, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24.The money, which MetroLink applied for in July 2022, will add six new battery electric buses to a fleet that is made up of 30% battery electric and 70% compressed natural gas buses, according to Jennifer Hirsch, MetroLINK’s manager of administration.In addition to the buses, she said, MetroLINK will receive Rebuild Illinois funding that includes:
$600,000 for electric car chargers for the Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District’s transit centers and in the district’s downtowns.
$2 million for expansion of the Moline operations and maintenance center, that could include a possible solar array expansion.
$1.75 million for renovations of East Pointe terminal in East Moline.
The MetroLINK funding, which was among the $113.8 million earmarked for transit providers outside the Chicago area, brings the total investment in downstate transit via competitive grants to $337.8 million, according to an Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) news release.“Thanks to Gov. Pritzker and the IDOT team, the most recent Rebuild Illinois grant award will allow us to further develop our battery electric bus fleet through the purchase of six additional battery electric buses,” Ms. Hirsch said Tuesday. “Since 2018, our battery electric bus program has continued to expand, with 30% of our fleet currently consisting of battery electric bus vehicles,” she added. “These types of investments reinforce our commitment to grow our community through an environmentally conscious and equitable public transportation network.”The state’s announcement Tuesday was made in Decatur. “I’m proud to announce the third round of Rebuild Illinois projects — 32 downstate transit partners both rural and urban — who will receive a total investment of nearly $114 million,” Mr. Pritzker said. “This third round of grants will increase transportation options and create more good-paying jobs across downstate Illinois. Collectively under my administration, we’ve invested billions of dollars to revitalize downstate communities, more than any administration in Illinois history.”Added Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman, “These awards to our transit systems will strengthen our status as a national leader in providing cost-effective public transportation that’s safe and accessible to everyone in our state. Through Rebuild Illinois, Gov. Pritzker and IDOT continue to improve the state's transportation system by seeking out the best projects and getting our partners at the local level the resources they need to deliver them.”Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.This week’s grant is the just the latest significant state or federal grant that MetroLINK has captured in the last year.In February, 2022, the agency received a $5 million state grant through the Rebuild Illinois program to buy on-street, overhead vehicle charging equipment for its Metro passenger terminals and its Metro Operations and Maintenance Center. MetroLINK also applied for and received $1.85 million from the U.S. DOT’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program to build a new dock terminal at The Bend on the Mississippi riverfront development in East Moline.