Metropolis Strategies Hails Passage of Legislation to Plan Improvements in Illinois Freight System

More than 27 percent of state's jobs tied to freight transportation

CHICAGO, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The General Assembly has approved legislation requiring the state to make an assessment of the freight transportation system in Illinois and issue a plan with recommendations to improve the flow of freight by roads, rail, air and water.

The Freight Mobility Plan Act (House Bill 1761), which was proposed by Metropolis Strategies, received overwhelming approval of both chambers and awaits action by Gov. Pat Quinn.  The chief sponsors of HB 1761 are State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, and Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet.

"More than 27 percent of Illinois jobs are in industries closely tied to freight transportation, and many businesses locate in Illinois because of the state's capacity to provide reliable, cost-effective freight services," said George Ranney, President and CEO of Metropolis Strategies.  "Unless the state plans for improvements to the system and helps make sure the movement of goods is efficient, those jobs will be jeopardized by an inefficient system that is even slower than it is today and more costly to businesses."

"Because the freight system is fragmented among a variety of private companies and governments, it is imperative that the state take a stronger leadership role in planning and guiding the system as a whole," said Jim LaBelle, Vice President of Metropolis Strategies.  "While the freight industry benefits the state's economy, it can have a negative impact in congestion delays for drivers and passenger trains and noise and air pollution.  Unless there are improvements soon, the negative impacts will be even greater."

In metropolitan Chicago, two-thirds of the need for new roads in the next 20 years will be the result of increased truck traffic.  Freight rail traffic is expected to double in the next couple of decades.

HB 1761 requires a freight mobility component be added to the state transportation plan.  The freight mobility component will:

  • Analyze and assess the current freight transportation system;
  • Identify freight system trends, needs, and economic opportunities; and
  • Recommend operation and management improvements, projects to eliminate system inefficiencies, methods of funding projects, and policies to ensure the movement of goods within Illinois is both efficient and supportive of the state's economy.

About Metropolis Strategies

Formerly Chicago Metropolis 2020, Metropolis Strategies is a business and civic organization implementing policy initiatives and programs to grow the region's economy, to build a more sustainable region and to create safer communities.  Metropolis Strategies is a supporting organization of The Chicago Community Trust.  For additional information, go to http://www.MetropolisStrategies.org.

SOURCE Metropolis Strategies



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