It's a great part of the country because community leaders in the twin cities of Bloomington-Normal think about livability. They incorporate it into their decisions. They get it.
I think it’s fair to say that this Administration's work is helping the twin cities achieve that readiness through a balanced variety of transportation options.
- More than $1 billion for high-speed, inter-city passenger rail service between Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City, including a stop in Normal.
- More than $1.4 million for the Route 66 bikeway in Bloomington.
- $2.5 million to the Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System for a new bus facility.
- Over $20 million to McLean County to rebuild and repair roads and bridges.
So, whether you walk, bike, drive, ship goods, or take transit, Bloomington-Normal planners are thinking about improving your mobility. That's livability.
And we're not finished by a long shot:
- We’re getting ready to announce $1.5 billion in stimulus grants for transportation projects that will enable communities like Bloomington-Normal to invest in high-priority projects.
- Congress has agreed to provide an additional $600 million for a similar program this year to fund even more innovative transportation projects at the local and regional level.
- The President's budget includes over $500 million to focus on outcomes that promote livability and provide the support communities need to get good local transportation projects going.
These investments will allow communities like McLean County to compete directly for project funds.
And these investments reflect the belief we share with planners in communities like Bloomington-Normal across the country that coordinated transportation, housing, and community development investments also open the door to new economic opportunities.But this emphasis on livability cannot be DOT's alone. We’re looking for local leaders to bring innovative ideas and partnerships and a long-term commitment to building livable, sustainable communities.
Last week, I found that commitment in McLean County, Illinois.