President Preckwinkle, County Department of Transportation and Highways Issue First-Ever Call for Projects

January 23, 2017

New program encourages investments that support the County’s priorities

The Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH) is seeking applications for transportation-related projects throughout Cook County as part of the President Toni Preckwinkle’s initiative to build and maintain a comprehensive regional transportation network.

For the first time, Cook County is launching an $8.5 million program to help cover the cost of planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction associated with transportation improvements sponsored by local governments and private partners. This new program seeks projects that broaden the County’s traditional focus on County roads to include pedestrian, bicycle, transit and freight-related improvements.

The call for projects, dubbed “Invest in Cook,” is an initiative of Connecting Cook County, the County’s first long-range transportation plan in 75 years. Connecting Cook County lays the groundwork for how the County invests in transportation to attract and retain businesses, people, capital and talent. 

“The goal of Invest in Cook is to ensure that transportation investments are made wisely by identifying the universe of transportation needs and prioritizing them,” Preckwinkle said. 

“Invest in Cook ties transportation investments to greater economic growth and to more livable communities by making sure businesses and residents have safe and convenient transportation options.”

DoTH has expanded its traditional focus on its own roads and bridges to include partnering with local communities in an effort to build and maintain a comprehensive network that addresses multiple modes of transportation.

Connecting Cook County calls on Cook County to be a leader in setting and implementing regional transportation policies,” Preckwinkle said. “Different levels and units of government need to collaborate to deliver regionally significant improvements that yield long-term results.”

In addition to funding projects, Invest in Cook will provide technical and grant-writing expertise to help communities tap into new funding sources and accelerate the completion of projects that may have languished.

“Invest in Cook means communities that have suffered inequities in the distribution of transportation resources will see much-needed capital investments,” said Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims, the chairwoman of the County’s Roads and Bridges Committee. “I am eager to see investments in disadvantaged communities that retain companies, create jobs and make communities better places to live.” 

DoTH is seeking applications from local governments and transit agencies. Private for-profit or non-profit organizations can submit project proposals, but must have a public sponsor. The deadline to apply is 5:00 PM CST on March 17, 2017.

Invest in Cook seeks 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

Cook County transportation staff will evaluate and score the proposals using publicly available, performance-based criteria and a qualitative assessment to determine which projects will be chosen this year. 

Program information is available at www.cookcountyil.gov/InvestInCook. Award letters will be sent out in the summer of 2017, and a corresponding list of grantees will be published on the project webpage.