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Q-C planning group outlines $5 billion worth of transportation projects over next 30 years
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Q-C planning group outlines $5 billion worth of transportation projects over next 30 years

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A new Interstate 80 bridge over the Mississippi River, further improvements to the Interstate 74 corridor and a continued push for a decades-long effort to bring passenger rail service from Chicago to the Quad-Cities are among a host of projects Quad-Cities officials hope to tackle over the next three decades.

Take a tour of the new I-74 Bridge with columnist Barb Ickes, and George Ryan, the Corridor Manager I-74 Improvement Quad-Cities.

The Bi-State Regional Commission — the Quad Cities’ metropolitan planning organization responsible for programming federal infrastructure dollars — has released an updated draft of its Long Range Transportation Plan.

The plan identifies $5 billion in investment over the next 30 years for road, bridge, transit, trails and other transportation projects eligible for federal funding. Of that, about $3.7 billion is expected to come from local sources and $1.2 billion from state sources.

"We're looking at the future of our transportation and public transit system and making sure it's environmentally friendly ... and that it helps support the economy by moving people and goods, that it addresses safety and security, (and) that we make sure that we are connecting people to where they need to go," said Gena McCullough, assistant executive and planning director for the Bi-State Regional Commission.

An update of the plan for federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization is required every five years.

The Bi-State Regional Commission will hold virtual meetings this month to take public input on the drafted Long Range Transportation Plan, available for review through March 23. The commission's Transportation Policy Committee will conduct a public hearing scheduled for 12 p.m. on March 23 for final comments on the plan before forwarding recommendations to the Bi-State Regional Commission for approval.

The commission will consider adoption of the plan on March 24.

Residents and businesses are invited to attend any one of three virtual meetings:

  • 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 -- http://bit.ly/308hNun +1 312 626 6799 Meeting ID: 893 1317 5950 Passcode: 759937
  • 12 to 1 p.m. Monday, March 15 -- http://bit.ly/3891fHc +1 312 626 6799 Meeting ID: 844 1952 2247 Passcode: 131140
  • 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18 -- http://bit.ly/3sKlaDZ +1 312 626 6799 Meeting ID: 824 7254 7694 Passcode: 893078

A presentation summarizing the plan will be posted at www.bistateonline.org to view prior to the meetings. Residents can also provide online comments on the draft plan on Bi-State Regional Commission's website.

Completed draft chapters are available at www.bistateonline.org.

The commission's Transportation Technical Committee will also virtually meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 9 to discuss the draft report and recommendations to the commission's policy committee, comprised of elected officials representing Scott and Rock Island counties, the cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, Moline and East Moline. The join the meeting, go to https://bit.ly/3ekNysD or dial +1 312 626 6799 using meeting ID number: 817 5953 1933 and Password: 471520.

"It's important for people to take part ... so they know where that (federal transportation money) is going to be allocated, and so they can be heard if they have different opinions ... on the types of projects they want to see happen in their communities," said Bettendorf Mayor Robert Gallagher, incoming chairman of the Bi-State Regional Commission and former Transportation Policy Committee chairman.

For more information, contact the Bi-State Regional Commission at 309-793-6300.

If you drive over the Interstate 74 bridge, you drive right over the top of them. Columnist Barb Ickes has long been curious about the row of windows that are built into the underbelly of the bridge. So, she went looking for an answer. From 1935 to 1970, the bridge was a tollway. The concrete "plaza" in the middle of the twin spans formerly was the toll plaza. And to accommodate the toll takers' needs, offices were built into the concrete pier directly under the plaza. When the tolls had paid off the construction of both spans, the toll booths were removed, and the offices no longer were needed.

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