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Newman, Garcia, Durbin and Duckworth Lead IL Delegation Letter Inviting Secretary Buttigieg to Tour Chicagoland Area

June 11, 2021

As Secretary Buttigieg tours the country for President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, the delegation letter invites him to Illinois, a national and international hub of transportation activity

CHICAGO, IL – Today, U.S. Representatives Marie Newman (D-IL-03) and Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL-04) with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) led members of the Illinois congressional delegation in a letter inviting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to tour local transportation projects and assets across the Chicagoland area and the state of Illinois. As Secretary Buttigieg begins to tour the country to share the promise of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, the delegation is inviting him to tour Illinois – a national and international hub of transportation activity – to provide him with an opportunity to learn more about the innovative plans for the future of transit across the state. 

“Our state is a national and international hub of transportation activity. It powers our communities and local economy. The U.S. must lead the way in reimagining future infrastructure planning, addressing the growing challenges of climate change, and putting millions of Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure in a post-COVID recovery. The American Jobs Plan is the strong federal leadership we need to do just that. Chicago and the state of Illinois stand ready to usher in this new era of American leadership in transportation and infrastructure investment,” the lawmakers said in the letter to Secretary Buttigieg. “That is why we invite you and your staff to join us on a tour during an upcoming Congressional District Work Period. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about our innovative plans for the future of transit and how the Department can work with us to meet the challenges our communities continue to face.” 

“Chicago represents one of the finest world-class transportation systems there is. However, for decades, our nation has put modernizing our infrastructure and transportation systems on the back burner, resulting in incomplete infrastructure projects, broken roads, eliminated bus routes, and transportation deserts in far too many communities across the country, including in Illinois,” said Congresswoman Newman. “As we work towards modernizing our transit infrastructure as part of the American Jobs Plan, there is no state more ready to lead that effort than Illinois. That’s why each and every one of us on this letter are thrilled to invite Secretary Buttigieg back to the Midwest to visit America’s transportation hub so that he can see first-hand how the American Jobs Plan will create more efficient roads and railways in Chicago’s communities but also bring much-needed economic development and new good-paying, union jobs.” 

“Chicago is America’s transportation hub -- the heart of the nation’s transportation networks including airways, transit, railroads, waterways, and highways. We have a once-in-a century opportunity to make transformational investments to fix our crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems in Chicago and across the country. We also have an imperative and a mandate to undo decades of discrimination in infrastructure policy by investing in marginalized communities like the Black & Latino neighborhoods I represent, creating good-paying union jobs, and rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. Visiting Chicago would be a great way for Secretary Buttigieg to look at the great potential our country has when infrastructure investments are centered on equity, future sustainability and prioritizing communities that have been ignored for decades,” said Congressman García. 

“Illinois is ready to lead the way when it comes to improving our transportation infrastructure for the 21st century. Secretary Buttigieg is a friend and I look forward to welcoming him to the Chicagoland area and other areas in our great state. It’s time to get to work and invest in communities to build the infrastructure we need for the future,” Durbin said. 

Home to Chicago Midway and O’Hare International Airports, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Metra, as well as miles of freight lines, Illinois has been a proven leader in transportation investment, but additional support and coordination at the federal level is desperately needed. The American Jobs Plan is the strong federal vision that Illinois’ communities need to usher in this new era of American leadership in transportation and infrastructure investment. 

As part of this collective effort to boldly build back Illinois’ transportation infrastructure better and greener than ever before, the delegation is inviting Secretary Buttigieg to tour local projects that not only represent the future of transit but would benefit from the American Jobs Plan. These projects include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Chicago Integrated Rail Operations Center to highlight the “Chicago Protocol” operating agreement and cooperation between class Is, Metra, and Amtrak   
  • Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program projects    
  • Chicago Union Station  
  • Connect-to-Ride Public Transit-on-Demand Pilot Program  
  • CTA’s Bus Fleet Electrification Plans  
  • CTA’s Red Purple Modernization Program  
  • Elgin-O’Hare Western Access Project 
  • Metra’s 47th Street locomotive refurbishment barn   
  • Metra’s proposed “higher speed rail” segment from Downtown Chicago to O’Hare Airport  
  • Recent innovations at Midway International Airport, including plans to electrify the CTA Bus Terminal  
  • The Belt Railway Company of Chicago – the largest intermediate switching terminal railroad in the U.S.  
  • The I-80 Bridge over the Des Plaines River – one of the worst-rated bridges for traffic congestion, age, and maintenance condition; and the site of significant Environmental Justice issues in South Joliet.   
  • The Lion Electric School Bus Factory under construction which will build 20,000 Electric School buses per year.  
  • Will County Intermodal Center – the largest inland port in North America.   

Today’s letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Marie Newman, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Bobby L. Rush, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Bill Foster, Robin Kelly, Danny K. Davis, Bradley S. Schneider and Sean Casten. Additionally, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. 

A full copy of the letter can be found here