Dear Governor Pritzker:
We are writing to encourage you to sign HB 253, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) performance-based programming bill. This bill will improve the impact of the Rebuild Illinois program and future transportation investments by bringing greater transparency, direction, and accountability to the state’s transportation spending. The bill, when fully implemented, will also establish Illinois as a national leader in directing transportation funds toward goals related to economic growth, racial equity, and climate change.
Thank you and Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell for facilitating negotiations between us and IDOT to improve the original bill. You and your team’s engagement were key to producing a stronger bill and fulfilling the commitment included in your Administration’s transition report to implement a modern, data-driven, transparent performance management system to choose transportation projects.
We also want to offer our support and assistance in implementing the policies included in HB 253. This legislation’s success depends on IDOT and the RTA carrying out changes to their investment strategies and we are eager to help in any way.
This bill and your signature can be a major catalyst for future IDOT reforms that are necessary to fully utilize our transportation system to support Illinois’ growth. For example, legislation to give IDOT the tools it needs to modernize their project delivery methods should be a high priority in the next legislative session. Illinois is just one of four states that prohibit their state DOT from using design-build project delivery, a national best practice that reduces delivery timeand costs of transportation projects. IDOT also is less equipped than other state DOTs in their capacity to pursue public-private partnerships or other alternative delivery methods like bridge bundling. These initiatives should be strengthened and adequately staffed via future legislation and executive action. Lastly, we should begin preparing for the next capital bill now by establishing a blue-ribbon commission similar to the federal commission established by Congress to guide national surface transportation policy in the wake of their 2005 transportation bill.
Thank you again for your efforts to improve our transportation network in Illinois. In combination with a significant federal infrastructure bill, we believe HB 253 can be the cornerstone of new transportation policy reforms in Illinois that will help us tackle the many issues – like racial equity, climate change, and economic growth – that need urgent attention.
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