Fehr Graham helps clients secure Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grants

Fehr Graham helped three clients secure funding through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP). Decatur Park District, Oregon Park District and the City of Dixon will receive grants to expand recreational paths and enhance the quality of life in each respective community.

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced $127.9 million in ITEP funding throughout the state. This year's program is the largest and is tied to Rebuild Illinois, which dedicates resources to communities with the greatest need.

The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program is an important part of Rebuild Illinois designed to support alternate modes of transportation, to preserve visual and cultural resources, and improve quality of life."

JB Pritzker, Governor

Fehr Graham Senior Community Development Specialist Bridgette Stocks helped apply for and secure funding for these projects:

The Decatur Park District will receive $949,390 to replace the bike trail bridge over Stevens Creek in Fairview Park. The bridge was built more than a century ago to serve as a rail transportation bridge and was later repurposed into a bike trail path for pedestrians. The project will replace the bridge and upgrade the safety and reliability of the bike path system, a prominent alternative mode of transportation in Decatur. The new bridge system will include a wider deck, a handrail system and a new support system over Stevens Creek.

The Oregon Park District will receive $3 million to construct a nearly 2-mile paved shared-use path along River Road, making it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians to get to and from Lowden State Park, which welcomes more than 200,000 visitors annually, and the City of Oregon. This shared-use path will also connect Lowden State Park to the Eternal Indian sculpture, Northern Illinois University Lorado Taft Field Campus, room school and the City.

The City of Dixon will receive $2.3 million in additional funding for the 2016 ITEP grant project – Dixon Bike Path Extension Project. This 1.6-mile path will be in the City's southern region and will connect people to employment opportunities, retail destinations, schools and extensive trail systems in the City and surrounding region. Funds will be used to add full-length path lighting and emergency call boxes for convenience and safety, along with other enhancements. The asphalt, multiuse, Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible path that uses the abandoned Illinois Central railroad corridor, separating users from traffic on Illinois 2 and Illinois 26.

The 72 selected projects include biking and walking paths, trails and streetscape beautification designed to encourage safe travel across various modes of transportation.

"The Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program gives our local partners the resources they need to improve quality of life for their communities and strengthen the state's overall transportation system," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "With Gov. Pritzker's leadership, we're putting dollars to work in the communities that need them most, investing in infrastructure and increasing travel options to make Illinois a safer and more enjoyable place to work, build a business and raise a family."

Projects were awarded based on readiness and ability to connect to transportation networks and other economic drivers, as well as secure public support and provide public benefits. Additional consideration was given to projects serving areas with higher needs, based on population, percentage below the poverty level and estimated median household income.

IDOT received 213 project applications. The next call for projects will come in late 2024, with a 2025 award announcement.

Managing requirements and timelines of complex funding can be daunting. At Fehr Graham, we have successfully supported more than $200 million in financial solutions to communities throughout Illinois. Daily, Fehr Graham's in-house grant writer reviews 40-50 types of funding. With this depth of knowledge, Fehr Graham professionals can identify grants, put together a thorough application and help meet post-award requirements.