The Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) has announced it is seeking $300 million in federal stimulus funds for 16 projects that are part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program.

A first-of-its-kind partnership, CREATE brings together Illinois DOT, the Chicago Dept. of Transportation and the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Illinois DOT is eligible for the funding under the federal Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

In addition to the $300 million being sought via the federal TIGER grant, CREATE partners also have committed to add 39% ($117.4 million) in state and private money for the projects.

The program outlined in the TIGER grant includes projects ranging from rail line improvements to a grade separation to viaduct improvements. Scheduled for completion by 2012, this program will support roughly 4,500 job years. The application details several additional benefits.

• 17,684-hour annual reduction in freight rail delay
• $265.0 million annual savings in logistics cost

• Reduced annual passenger rail delays of 57,631 passenger hours and $1.4 million in cost
• Reduced annual motorist delays of 344,499 hours and $8.5 million in cost

• Reduced diesel consumption by 2.9 million gallons each year
• Reduced emissions from locomotives and vehicles due to improved efficiency and delay reduction
• $2.5 million annual cost savings associated with emissions reduction and reduced diesel consumption

• Improved vehicle safety and crash prevention