In the time it takes to look at a text message, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour will cover the length of a football field. Because a lot can happen in that time, State Senator John G. Mulroe sponsored legislation in 2013 to curb distracted driving by prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving, including texting, operating navigation systems and eating.
SPRINGFIELD – Chicago residents may no longer be forced to drive to the suburbs for their vehicle emissions testing based on new legislation sponsored by State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago). After emissions test sites closed in the Chicagoland area in November, Mulroe introduced legislation to require the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to locate vehicle emissions inspections stations within a five-mile radius of those subject to testing.
“By closing emissions testing facilities in Chicago, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has created an undue burden on Chicago residents to meet the emission testing requirement” Mulroe said. “Getting a vehicle’s emissions tested can already be a time-consuming task in and of itself. We should not add to that by forcing Chicagoans to driver further to fulfill this obligation.”
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation and Amtrak announced late last week that they have reached an agreement to maintain service on state-supported routes at a savings to taxpayers and without having to raise fares on the downstate routes.
When the governor announced his initial plans to slash support for these routes, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) questioned whether these cuts were wise in the long term.
“The governor's proposal last spring to cut state support of Amtrak's intercity Illinois routes by 40 percent was troubling. In response, we held a Higher Education Committee hearing at which mayors, business leaders and university officials explained that frequent Amtrak service attracts investment, retains students, and reduces the need for on-campus parking,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate’s higher education panel.
College students make up a significant portion of the ridership on these routes, including the Lincoln Service, which runs four times a day between Chicago and St. Louis and passes through Joliet.
“I'm pleased IDOT listened,” McGuire said. “This is good news for everyday Illinoisans and for Joliet's new multi-modal transportation center, too.”
SPRINGFIELD – A proposal creating a commission that will oversee Springfield’s 10th Street Rail Corridor was signed into law Wednesday.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Representative Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) sponsored the commission that aims to increase transparency and ensure accountability in minority hiring.
Manar and Scherer credited citizen participation, specifically the Faith Coalition for the Common Good, for this commission becoming a reality.
BRIDGEVIEW – The office of Senator Steven Landek (D-Bridgeview) reports that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently began engineering and environmental studies on the CSXT Railroad underpass on Archer Ave at 63rd St.
IDOT says the purpose of these studies is to determine the priority of what improvements can be done within the scope of the project’s budget. The main emphasis of the project is to repair the super-structure on the deck, which carries trains over the roadway.
Other issues being looked at include the slope of the underpass and repaving of the roadway. The drainage system, which has caused flooding issues for decades, will also be evaluated as part of the studies.
“This is the first step in the process, but it is one that is needed,” Landek said.