Business Leaders for Transportation Hosts Forum with Rep. Schakowsky - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Business Leaders for Transportation Hosts Forum with Rep. Schakowsky

One of a Series; Discusses Transportation Issues Vital to Area Businesses

Recognizing that the business community is uniquely qualified to influence federal transportation policy, Business Leaders for Transportation is hosting a series of forums that bring together members of the Illinois congressional delegation and their area business leaders to rally around key changes to the federal distribution formula and identify transportation investment priorities.

Today’s breakfast in Evanston featured U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston). The event was co-sponsored by CenterPoint Properties, Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry, DevNorth Corp., Edgewater Development Corporation, Evanston Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, Transportation Center at Northwestern University, Transportation for Illinois Coalition, Uptown Chamber of Commerce, Uptown Community Development Corporation, and West Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

"An investment by the federal government in Illinois' transportation needs will be critical to improving quality of life for millions, to the growth of our economy, and to the success of businesses across the state,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “I am committed to working with local leaders and my colleagues in Congress to bring Illinois its fair share of transportation funds for projects that will reduce congestion and commute times, improve mass transit, and help our state create jobs."

The facts about northeastern Illinois’ transportation network are startling. The region has the second largest transit and third largest interstate networks in the nation, is the third busiest intermodal hub in the world, and is the fifth most congested in the country — leaving local commuters to waste an average of 61 hours a year just sitting in traffic. Businesses, which represent individual and commercial transportation users, have a particular interest in how Illinois fares under the next federal bill.

“Job growth is happening throughout northeastern Illinois,” said Bob Gallamore, director of Northwestern University’s Transportation Center and moderator of today’s forum, “and the Chicago area’s role as hub of the national intermodal transportation network is more critical than ever. These forums allow business leaders to voice their concerns about getting their people and goods from place to place, and to share their views on improvements such as the CREATE plan.”

“I’m glad to see that the business community is getting involved,” said Paula Thibeault, executive director of the Regional Transportation Authority. “How Illinois fares in this upcoming bill will have profound consequences for them because it will undoubtedly affect all commuters.”

“Service-oriented economies depend on the talents of people, and people stuck in traffic equals money lost,” said Peter Glick, first vice president for LaSalle Capital Markets.

Chicago Metropolis 2020, which co-leads Business Leaders for Transportation with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Metropolitan Planning Council, outlined the coalition’s recommendations for TEA-3. “We strongly support efforts by our congressional leaders to adjust the federal funding formula to respond to Illinois’ transportation needs and provide the necessary resources for a better connected, intermodal system for northeastern Illinois,” said Jim LaBelle, Metropolis 2020 deputy director. “An informed and active business community is key to ensuring that Illinois’ transportation needs are met.”

This fall, Business Leaders for Transportation is hosting a series of the forums around the region, including one on Dec. 1, 2003 at the South Holland Community Center with Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Chicago), and in mid-December with Reps. Henry Hyde (R-Addison) and Judy Biggert (R-Clarendon Hills).

Business Leaders for Transportation, a coalition of 180 members representing more than 12,000 regional employers, provides a collective voice for Chicago-area businesses on surface transportation issues. Of central importance to the coalition is increased state and federal transportation funding for northeastern Illinois, supported by coordinated planning to achieve the most efficient and desirable return on transportation system investments.

For more information, contact Natashia Holmes at 312.863.6022.

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