Area leaders create transportation plan

To better coordinate and address transportation problems and improvements, State Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford) hosted a Rockford Regional Transportation Seminar at the Zeke Giorgi Building in Rockford at 6 p.m., Monday, May 9.

“This was a great opportunity for government officials and business leaders to come together and discuss the different projects that we are working to deliver for the people of Rockford,” Jefferson said. “We identified our key priorities, and discussed how we could move our transportation needs forward. I hope that this seminar has helped to improve communication between these different groups so that we may advance our regional transportation plans in a timely and efficient manner.”

The seminar began with presentations from different agency representatives, business leaders, and elected officials on the current status of road, rail, and other transportation projects throughout the region. Each agency representative highlighted key transportation needs, including what actions government and business leaders must take to make their transportation plans a reality. Representatives from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois Toll Authority, METRA, Northern Commuter Rail Initiative, Rockford Regional Airport (RFD), and Rockford Mass Transit, as well as Mayor George Gaulrapp of Freeport, all made presentations. The presentations were particularly timely given IDOT’s recent release of its five-year plan.

“The fact that we have no commuter rail service to Chicago, and that areas in our region have no access to public transportation, shows that there is a need for increased business and government cooperation,” Jefferson said.

“We rely on people owning their own automobiles and businesses having access to trucking as a means of moving their goods,” Jefferson continued. “Considering the rising cost of gas, maintenance, and taxes, we need to recognize that our workers and businesses need to have other options as well.”

Jefferson thanked the government, business, and transportation leaders for their input before the seminar adjourned, and indicated that this is just one step in the process of leading the Rockford Region toward better transportation access and economic development. Jefferson plans to utilize the findings of Monday’s event, and maintain open communication with the other leaders in attendance, to increase transportation options to the region.

More info: contact Jefferson’s constituent service office at 987-7433.

From the May 18-24, 2005, issue

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