Tollway Interim Executive Director & Transportation Leaders Gather to Discuss Project Funding, Minority Challenges

Tollway Interim Executive Director & Transportation Leaders Gather to Discuss Project Funding, Minority Challenges

Black leaders in local and state government gathered recently to hear from area transportation officials about funding plans for infrastructure projects and opportunities for diverse firms and individuals to participate in those projects, as well as in leadership positions at those agencies. 

The National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Chicago Chapter, hosted an Executives in Transportation and Infrastructure panel discussion attracting more than 80 NFBPA members to the June 28 event in downtown Chicago. 

The panel included Illinois Tollway Interim Executive Director Lanyea Griffin, Chicago Transit Authority Chief Operating Officer Veronica Alanis, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi, Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman and Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee. 

Asked about the financial outlook for the Illinois Tollway, Griffin responded that the Tollway is in a strong financial position to deliver the remainder of its 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program and keep its 294-mile system of roadways in a state of good repair. When Move Illinois is completed by the end of 2026, the entire Tollway system will have been rebuilt, she said. 

Other transportation agency officials were asked how they were planning to use federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or the American Rescue Plan Act, both signed into law in 2021. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $1.2 trillion in federal funding over eight years to modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, airports and other transportation-related infrastructure, while the American Rescue Plan includes $30.5 billion to support public transportation systems. 

Being self-sustaining, the Illinois Tollway stands ready to serve as a good partner with other local and state transportation agencies putting federal funds to use on  transportation infrastructure improvements across the region. The Tollway has a history of working in collaboration with other agencies to deliver transportation infrastructure improvements throughout the region.