By: Diane Benjamin
At Monday’s Council meeting at was announced they think the formerly $24,000,000 underpass can be built for $22,000,000. This Uptown vanity won’t allow a single car to avoid sitting at a crossing waiting for a train to pass. It won’t stop people from crossing the tracks on foot at other crossings.
Compare this to Springfield. In 2012 they planned eliminating numerous at grade crossings as part of the high speed rail project. (Details on that is another ridiculous story!) Since Dick Durbin made sure the money was available, Springfield took it. This underpass opened to traffic in 2016:
What was the total cost of this 4-lane underpass including pedestrian traffic and land acquisition?
Normal wants to spend more than that just for walkers and bikers!
Instead of spending money to benefit all people traveling through Normal on Linden, Normal fixated on Uptown foot and bike traffic.
From the story:
The taxpayers of Springfield spent less then $1 million. Normal could have planned an underpass on Linden and routed foot traffic there. They could have enclosed a walkway for Amtrak passengers if they worried about them.
Normal could have planned many things better, including the ability to drop passengers at Amtrak’s door. The station was built anticipating an overpass. Changing to an overpriced underpass proves why Normal built themselves lavish offices. Taxpayer money exists for whatever whims government dreams up. Normal’s current government doesn’t exist for citizens.
Eventually Springfield will spend $315 million on underpasses, they will only pay $34 million. Normal was praised during public comment for bringing tax dollars back from Washington. Compared to Springfield, Normal looks like amateurs. Since Bloomington is fixated on their downtown, the two cities couldn’t work together on a regional plan. They will however be looking at a sports complex guaranteed to never break even.
From the article: The project will address public safety, traffic congestion, community livability, and commercial development.
What will Normal’s $22 million underpass do?
It will do nothing to reduce traffic congestion and livability for people sitting at train crossings. We do know Normal wants Uptown 2.0 – a new library and likely a police station.
Maybe the local union workers wanting the underpass so they have work should move to Springfield. It might be too late though, all the projects are projected to be completed next year.