County investments leverage federal and state funds to advance priority projects.
The Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH) has selected 34 projects as part of Cook County’s annual Invest in Cook grant program.
The County’s investment of $7 million leverages an additional $26.8 million in federal, state and local funds. The commitment of County transportation resources will enable $33.8 million in project activity across all phases to get under way in the coming year.
The selected projects span 33 municipalities and include transit improvements, cycling and pedestrian enhancements, traditional roadway repair and freight enhancements.
Invest in Cook puts a premium on equal access to opportunity. Half of the funding is directed to projects in low- and moderate-income communities.
Visit cookcountyil.gov/investincook for details about each project.
Invest in Cook is an initiative of Connecting Cook County, the County’s long-range transportation plan, which guides how the County invests in transportation to attract and retain businesses, people, capital and talent.
“I am impressed by the impact that Invest in Cook has had in its first year,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “Seed investments of $820,000 by the County in three freight projects last year have yielded state and federal commitments of $38 million this year to design and build them.”
The County’s grant-writing assistance was key to helping communities tap into additional funding to accelerate completion of their projects.
Invest in Cook is in line with Preckwinkle’s vision to have the County play a greater leadership role in transportation by partnering with local communities to advance significant projects and by advocating for local and regional priorities in Washington D.C. and Springfield.
“Invest in Cook has advanced an impressive array of transit, bicycle, pedestrian, freight and road projects, and secured federal and state resources for them — dollars that might not otherwise flow to Cook County,” said Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims, chairwoman of the County’s Roads and Bridges Committee. “Long-neglected, disadvantaged communities in particular are benefitting from the County’s leadership on the transportation front.”
The Department of Transportation and Highway’s received 84 grant applications from local governments and transit agencies earlier this year.
Invest in Cook sought projects consistent with the priorities detailed in Connecting Cook County:
- Prioritize transit and other transportation alternatives
- Support the region’s role as North America’s freight capital
- Promote equal access to opportunities
- Maintain and modernize what already exists
- Increase investments in transportation
In keeping with these priorities, the program includes six transit, 13 bicycle/pedestrian, six freight and nine road projects.
Cook County transportation staff evaluated and scored the proposals using publicly available, performance-based criteria. A qualitative assessment consisting of staff reviews of applications and applicant interviews complemented the quantitative assessments. To promote a diversity in transportation modes, projects were evaluated and ranked by type: transit, bicycle and pedestrian, freight and roadways.
In 2017, Invest in Cook received the National Association of Counties’ annual Achievement Award, which recognizes innovative county government programs.