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MetroLINK expanding operators and facilities with new transportation grant

Earlier this month, MetroLINK was awarded $10 million dollars from a grant from the state of Illinois. It's going to be used to expand the electric bus fleet.

DECATUR, Ill. — Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24 that a total of $113.8 million will be invested in downstate transit providers, including Rock Island County's MetroLINK system.

The funding comes from the third round of grants being provided by the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capitol program.

The Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District, or MetroLINK, will receive $6 million to replace six buses with zero-emission buses. 

“We've really been able to build out our electric bus fleet," said Jennifer Hirsch, MetroLINK's manager of administration. "In 2018, we started with three buses and now today we have 17”

MetroLINK will also receive $2 million for operations and maintenance center expansion, $1.75 million for renovations and mechanical and HVAC upgrades and $600,000 for electric car chargers. 

"As we continue to build our electric bus fleet, the charging infrastructure here at our operations and maintenance center is actually going to triple in size. We'll have the capability to charge up to 20 buses simultaneously" said Hirsch. 

In total, MetroLINK will gain $10.35 million in funding from this round of funding.

Additional grants made to transit providers within the WQAD viewing area include:  

  • Bureau County: $2 million to build a new car wash.
  • Jo Daviess County: $1.2 million to build a new vehicle storage and maintenance building.
  • Carroll County: $400,000 to build a new garage.

“I’m proud to announce the third round of Rebuild Illinois projects — 32 downstate transit partners both rural and urban — who will receive a total investment of nearly $114 million,” said Pritzker. “This third round of grants will increase transportation options and create more good-paying jobs across downstate Illinois. Collectively under my administration, we’ve invested billions of dollars to revitalize downstate communities, more than any administration in Illinois history.”

A full list of recipients can be viewed by visiting IDOT's Public Transportation Providers page or by clicking here.  

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

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