THE ILLINOIS HIGHWAY 30 COALITION

 

April 4, 2003

 

TO: Senator James M. Inhofe, Chairman

U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works

Committee and other Distinguished Members of the Committee

 

FROM: The Illinois Highway 30 Coalition (Whiteside County, Illinois)

 

RE: U.S. Highway 30 Four-lane Expansion Project Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The Illinois Highway 30 Coalition, which represents communities in Whiteside County, and surrounding Northwest Illinois appreciates the opportunity to have our project position statement formally recognized and placed on file, as part of the committee field hearing held in Chicago, Illinois on April 7, 2003. We especially want to thank IL Senator Peter Fitzgerald for encouraging us to participate in the hearing.

 

U.S. Highway 30 was America's first coast-to-coast highway and was a great improvement at the time for early 20th century transcontinental motorists. Our proposed project, to create a four-lane U.S. Highway 30 route from Rock Falls to Fulton, Illinois adds an additional segment of improved transportation. Combined with scheduled or anticipated improvements in other states that are served by this route, four-lane expansion enhances the status of Highway 30 as a 21st century cross-country highway.

 

Regionally, this 19.5-mile corridor would serve communities in and along the route through Whiteside County. The new four-lane would also be a benefit to over 30 neighboring communities in counties to the east, west, north and south. Development of this route would expedite travel and distribution of goods and services within and connected to the corridor of Northwest Illinois and Eastern Iowa.

 

Highway 30 has reached design limits set by the Illinois Department of Transportation in its present two-lane configuration. An initial Illinois Department of Transportation corridor study done in 1970 showed at that time, the need for a four-lane Highway 30. Unfortunately, because of funding restraints, the project went no farther. Since that 1970 study, our region has been in a slow economic decline, with highway transportation constraints playing a major factor.

 

Today, as community leaders, economic development professionals, along with the support of key business stakeholders work on regional economic revitalization issues, it is glaringly clear that our section of highway, in its congested and unsafe condition, cannot provide the necessary transportation route to support planned and anticipated growth in this region. The Whiteside County area is intended to be the final link in a four-lane configuration connecting Interstate 88 in Illinois with Interstate 35 in Central Iowa.

 

Estimated cost of the project as recently calculated by the Illinois Department of Transportation covering Phase I -III Engineering, Land Acquisition and Construction is $130.5 million. In 2002 Illinois Senator Dick Durbin secured $750,000 through the Federal Transportation Appropriations Act (P.L. 107-67) under the project name: U.S. 30 Morrison/Whiteside County Expansion. This money has been designated to a corridor study, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation. The corridor study will officially begin sometime the first half of this calendar year.

 

Congressman Don Manzullo (IL-16th) and Congressman Lane Evans (IL-17th) have also recently submitted transportation project evaluation criteria to the Sub-Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, seeking additional funding for the project through the reauthorization of TEA-21. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (IL-14t`) is also supporting the project.

 

Project Benefits:

 

Economic - Supports present, planned and proposed increases in local and regional economic development by creating an improved route that will assist Northwest Illinois in attracting new business and industry through the safe, efficient and effective transfer of goods and services.

 

Provides infrastructure improvements to support retention of existing business and industry. Offers an important arterial link that improves efficiency of commuter travel. Creates a direct, cost effective link to and from geographic markets easterly toward the Chicago metro area, as well as to Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Kansas to the west.

 

Environment - Improves the negative impact on increasing levels of noise and air pollution created by high traffic counts and commercial truck traffic through residential areas. Promotes preservation of historic character and structures along the route, creating opportunities for related economic development and increased quality of life.

 

Congestion and Safety - Provides congestion relief on the highway that is the main mover of goods, services and people to, from, within and through Whiteside County, east to Chicago and west to Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Kansas. Upgrades Highway 30 to meet Illinois Department of Transportation guidelines for vehicle congestion, that show it has exceeded design limits for a two-lane arterial route. Makes the route safe for Northwest Illinois residents and travelers. Increases the ability of emergency services to respond, "in-time" and safely, as well as maintain a higher level of security throughout the county. Reduces the safety issues caused by the use of this congested Highway by school buses and farm machinery. The Highway 30 four-lane expansion could help reduce the car and heavy truck traffic congestion seen today on Interstate 80.

 

Approved funding support through the reauthorization of TEA-21 at the levels requested and any other federal funding support would enable the project schedule to be accelerated and completed within the next six to eight years.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration of this project.

 

Sincerely,

 

Steven M. Haring, Co Chair Eric Johnson, Co-Chair

IL Hwy. 30 Coalition IL Hwy. 30 Coalition

c/o Blackhawk Hills EDD c/o J.T. Cullen Company, Inc.

102 East Rt. 30, Suite #2 901 31st Avenue

Rock Falls, IL 61071 Fulton, IL 61252