ICYMI: Secretary Pete Buttigieg Visits Illinois, Highlights Recent Investments in Infrastructure With Support of President Biden’s Infrastructure Law

USDOT
3 min readAug 4, 2023
Secretary Buttigieg delivers remarks in Savoy, Illinois

Washington, DC — Earlier this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Champaign-Urbana and East St. Louis, Illinois to celebrate recent investments in the Prairie State’s transportation systems that will improve safety, reliability, and help more people get where they need to go.

Secretary Buttigieg started his trip in the Village of Savoy, just south of Champaign-Urbana, where he joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski, and local leaders to celebrate more than $22.6 million in funding made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will raise railroad tracks to create an overpass above a local road, reducing congestion and delays caused by crossing trains and improving safety.

The Secretary, Senator Durbin and Congresswoman Budzinski then stopped at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to participate in a fireside chat with students, faculty, and community members. Secretary Buttigieg discussed how USDOT is working to improve transportation in cities and small towns alike.

Secretary Buttigieg at the University of Illinois

In East St. Louis, Secretary Buttigieg was joined by Senator Durbin, Congresswoman Budzinski, Congresswoman Cori Bush, St. Louis Mayor Tishuara Jones, and community and industry leaders, to announce $27.7 million in disaster relief funding for St. Louis MetroLink that will support system repairs and improvements following last year’s major flood. This funding follows a $196 million grant from DOT to help MetroLink replace aging rail cars.

Secretary Buttigieg examining a railcar in East St. Louis

Read below to see what they’re saying about the Secretary’s visit.

SELECT MEDIA COVERAGE

Savoy and Urbana-Champaign

The Pantagraph (Central Illinois): In Central Illinois stop, Buttigieg calls rail projects ‘a win’ for region

“Everywhere I go, especially in smaller and midsize communities, but even in our biggest cities, there are these railroad crossings,” Buttigieg said. “Everybody knows about them, they’re a community headache, they’re a quality of life issue and they’re a safety concern.”

Illinois Newsroom: Buttigieg visits Savoy to tout infrastructure money for new underpass

“We got about $15 billion in requests for about $2.2 billion in funding,” Buttigieg said. “So the fact that this project is one of the few that made the cut really speaks volumes about the readiness and the hard work of this community to make it happen.”

The News Gazette (East Central Illinois): Buttigieg talks ‘complete streets’ during UI visit

“Now is a great opportunity not to repeat some of the mistakes that we’ve inherited,” Buttigieg said. “There was a period that we thought, for example, that the only function of a road going through the middle of a built-up area where a lot of people live is to blast vehicles through as quickly as possible.”

East St. Louis

Belleville News-Democrat (Southwestern Illinois): Transportation Secretary Buttigieg visits East St. Louis, announces funding for MetroLink

“We believe in public transit,” Buttigieg said. “We recognize the importance of transit for making it possible for people to get through daily life. We know how much transit means to people and we know that this community has been through a lot.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Metro gets nearly $28 million in federal aid to cover repairs after 2022 flood

“The simple reality is disasters like what this community has faced will happen more and more often,” he said.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Photos: Buttigieg announces $27 million grant for MetroLink

Spectrum News 1: U.S. Transportation Sec. announces $27M as part of Metrolink disaster recovery

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