As President of the Village of Olympia Fields and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and as a member of the Chicago Southland Alliance Board of Directors, I serve a 70-community area comprising southern and southwestern Cook, and eastern Will Counties of Illinois. As an Alliance member, I am an active and supportive player in the Transportation for Illinois Coalition’s mission to establish an equitable, aggressive, and effective transportation agenda through the TEA-3 planning and development process.
With a population exceeding 1.5 million, the area known as the Chicago Southland in which I live and serve reflects a diversity of people, professions, and opportunities.
As in any urban area, the health and vitality of the economy is nurtured by monitoring, identifying, developing, and implementing the necessary steps to maintain stability and position its residents for sensible development and an everimproving way of life.
The history of my region is indelibly linked with the movement of goods and services, not only locally, regionally, or within the State of Illinois, but to a much greater extent, nationally and world-wide. How critical is the Southlands to the national economy?
FACT: While the State of Illinois boasts five of the nation’s transcontinental interstates in its highway network, three of the five traverse the Chicago Southlands.
FACT: While the Chicago region includes six of the seven major railroads in its hub, five of those railroads pass through, unload, distribute, and receive produce in the Chicago Southlands.
Ladies and gentlemen, transportation is the infrastructure backbone of the world as we know it. Investment in the overall system - interstate, arterial, collector, and local - remains the lynch pin for traffic capacity, safety, air quality, and economic development.
For the first time in recent history, literally all regions of the State of Illinois are coming together for a common purpose. As outlined in the Transportation for Illinois Coalition’s Mission Statement:
Understanding that transportation needs must be addressed comprehensively rather than in a piecemeal fashion (is) the driving force that united major transportation design and construction industry groups with labor and business throughout the state...
The Transportation for Illinois Coalition was organized to speak with one voice for all of Illinois regarding transportation funding needs.
May I now formally offer the voice of local government in support of this critical initiative.
The September 11th tragedy linked and galvanized in purpose and action the nation under the age-old and truly American call to arms of “United We Stand.” The same call must now rally the country’s leadership and confront the transportation demands of a new century.
For only can a coalition linked by a common understanding, by a common purpose, and by a common commitment meet the challenge to deliver - via our nation’s roads, streets, and highways - the common good for 21St Century America.