Joliet, Illinois train station on hold, outlook for commuters unclear

October 18, 2015

Will ‘Gateway Center’ emerge from construction site?

JOLIET – Phil Andros is a walking example of the challenges in using public transit in Joliet, and often he is running.

“I literally have to run from the bus to catch the train,” the Joliet resident said.Website Insert Keep Your Money In-State copy

The bus typically arrives downtown at 6:05 a.m. His train leaves for Chicago at 6:10 a.m. And even that five-minute opportunity to switch from bus to train has disappeared since the Jefferson Street bridge, which his bus typically uses to get downtown, was closed for a painting project in July.

“Now that the bridge is under construction, I have to take a cab to get to the train in time,” Andros said.

Informed that the state now may keep the bridge closed into November, Andros groaned.

“I budgeted for the bus to bridge to [cab] be done in mid-October,” he said.

He’s not the only one whose public transit budget has been upset by decisions in Springfield.

The Joliet Gateway Center, the project designed to build a new train and bus station and put assorted modes of public transit into one location, has come to a near standstill because of budget overruns and a state mandate that, Joliet officials say, prevents work from going forward.

The state refused to award bids to construct a new train station this summer when it was apparent that there was not enough money left in the budget to build the bus station, too.

Illinois Department Of Transportation Spokesman Guy Tridgell said the City of Joliet project is being built in part with a state grant awarded almost four years ago. The city has been in charge of managing construction and overseeing the bidding process, he said.

Reporter Bob Okon of The Herald-News has the full story by clicking here.

 

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