Pace contributes $1.7 million to Joliet transportation center
By bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org November 21, 2012 4:16PM
A rendering shows what downtown Joliet would look like with a new multimodal transportation center and other changes. VOA Assoc. Inc. rendering courtesy of Joliet
Updated: December 24, 2012 7:11AM
JOLIET — The downtown transportation center gets another $1.7 million contribution.
Pace bus services announced the contribution earlier this week for the center, which is designed to be a hub for buses, trains, taxis and even bike riders.
Pace joins the state of Illinois, city of Joliet, as well as the BNSF and Union Pacific Railroads that are all funding the facility. The project also will ease freight train passage through downtown Joliet.
The $1.7 million “is going to be earmarked for the improvements that the city will be making for the Pace bus service,” said City Manager Thomas Thanas.
A bus terminal and turnaround area will be a major part of the transportation center and will replace the existing main hub for Pace bus service outside of the Will County Courthouse. The improvements also will improve access at the nearby Pace maintenance garage and widen part of St. Louis Street, Thanas said.
Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski announced the contribution at the Monday meeting of the Joliet City Council.
“We’re really glad to be part of that facility,” Kwasneski said.
The state of Illinois contributed $32 million to what was originally a $42 million project. Joliet is putting in $7.5 million.
Railroad and state funding has increased as additional work has been planned for improvements and realignment of freight tracks, Thanas said. The price tag on the project now is closer to $52 million, although the city contribution has not changed, he said.
The track realignment for freight service may be the least visible part of the project, but it has also been the most complex, planners said. The project will separate commuter and freight train activity downtown. Freight trains have had to stop downtown to wait for the commuter trains but will be able to move through more freely once the project is done.
The transportation center also is expected to be a major stop for future high-speed rail passenger service between Chicago and St. Louis.