IDOT awarded $1.2 million to study express bus service between Bloomington-Normal and Peoria


IDOT awarded $1.2 million to study express bus service between Bloomington-Normal and Peoria

Grant via U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE Program

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today it has been awarded $1.2 million to study the feasibility of adding express bus service to Interstate 74 between Bloomington-Normal and Peoria. The study, which is expected to start in late 2025 and take two years to complete, will explore the potential route, frequency, schedule and cost of connecting multiple cities and towns as well as businesses and institutions.

“Since I became governor, my administration has worked tirelessly to improve the quality and efficiency of our transportation system across Illinois,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “With this $1.2 million award, IDOT will be able to effectively study bus service options between Bloomington-Normal and Peoria to meet the various needs of residents throughout the region.”

The study fits into IDOT’s long-range plan to improve the state’s economy, mobility and overall livability via modernizing and investing in multiple modes of transportation. Although the exact route will be determined during the feasibility study, the proposed service would generally operate along the I-74 corridor between Peoria, Morton, Goodfield and Bloomington-Normal, traveling in proximity to Carlock, Congerville, Deer Creek and Mayfair.

Among the potential points of connection are Illinois State University, Rivian, Illinois Wesleyan University, State Farm Insurance, Bradley University, OSF Healthcare and several Caterpillar, Inc., manufacturing facilities. Additionally, several smaller industrial and agricultural employers are located along the corridor.

“Central Illinois boasts some of the finest industry, learning institutions and innovation that can be found anywhere,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “This grant will help us determine what we can do to better connect them and provide people access to jobs and tourism, finding new ways to build a better transit network and further strengthening our state’s impressive multimodal system of transportation.”

The proposed service also could provide a connection in Normal to the recently improved high-speed Amtrak service connecting Chicago and St. Louis and multiple cities in between, including Joliet, Springfield and Alton.

The funding is made possible through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, as part of $1.8 billion in awards supporting 148 projects nationwide. The program supports projects of local and regional significance, with funding split equally between urban and rural areas. A large percentage of grants support regions defined as historically disadvantaged or areas of persistent poverty.

“Today’s funding is a significant investment in Illinois’ future. The Bloomington-Normal and Peoria communities will be better connected because of the bus rapid transit feasibility study. By linking these areas, a BRT system along I-74 would provide essential access to jobs, housing, medical services, and education for urban and rural residents,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) ​ “I will continue working to ensure our state has the federal resources to improve and expand Illinois’ infrastructure.”

“I’m proud to see this federal funding going to support important research that will benefit Illinoisans and local infrastructure in the Bloomington-Normal and Peoria areas,” said U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) “This investment will go a long way in determining how we can better strengthen I-74’s infrastructure to make it safer and more accessible for commuters and transit users. I will continue to work alongside state, local and federal leaders to ensure that our communities are receiving the much-needed federal resources they deserve.”

“Peoria and Bloomington-Normal are robust population centers and home to world-renowned universities and businesses,” said U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-16). “Adding this express bus service in Central Illinois will help better connect our region, grow jobs and economic opportunities, and improve existing transportation systems. I am proud to support this project and will continue to work with IDOT, federal agencies, and our local partners to strengthen infrastructure in the region.”

“Investing in public transit means our neighbors will have cheaper and more sustainable options to get to and from work and families can more easily visit friends and loved ones. This $1.2 million RAISE grant awarded to the Illinois Department of Transportation will allow IDOT to look at expanding bus service between Bloomington-Normal and Peoria along I-74, a route that is currently lacking accessible and affordable public transit,” said U.S. Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-17). “I was proud to help IDOT secure this grant funding and I am excited about this new opportunity to keep Central Illinois communities connected.” ​ 


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