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Sen. Hunter is new Transportation Committee chair

Thursday, Nov 7, 2019

* Press release…

State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) was appointed Chair of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee today.

“I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and IDOT officials to move forward with our historic Rebuild Illinois plan and other public safety issues to ensure the future of our critical infrastructure across the state,” Hunter said.

Hunter’s leadership will place a renewed focus on improving fairness in the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway’s procurement processes. In 2016, she passed legislation creating the Fair Practices In Contracting Task Force, which is charged with making recommendations for removing barriers to minority-owned business participation in state procurement.

“This issue still lacks the appropriate attention from state leaders. Racial disparities in the awarding of state contracts are widening. When African-American businesses are shut out of opportunities, our communities are shut out of economic development and our families are shut out of jobs,” Hunter said. “It’s time to get serious about eliminating racial bias in the bidding process and systemic barriers to equity in state contracting.”

Hunter’s other immediate priorities as Chair of the Transportation Committee include:

    Seeking ways to make public transportation more accessible and affordable, particularly in underserved communities.
    Reviving the Disadvantaged Business Revolving Loan Program to provide capital necessary for properly certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises – small, minority and female-owned businesses - to finance IDOT project-specific work, acquire valuable work experience and establish or rebuild credit lines.
    Conducting a study to evaluate the usage of controversial red-light cameras throughout the state.
    Increasing the number of minority-, veteran- and woman-owned businesses engaged in state and local government contracting.
    Ensuring transparent and efficient implementation of IDOT’s Multi-Year Plan.

Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) had been chairman until he stepped aside after his Statehouse office was raided by the feds. But the position was never filled. The committee is meeting this coming Tuesday. The only posted bill so far is this red light cam study

Provides that 30 days after the effective date of the bill, the Department of Transportation shall conduct a study evaluating automated traffic law enforcement systems in this State. Provides that on or before December 31, 2019, the Department shall file a report with the General Assembly with the results from the study, including input from local law enforcement, and any recommendations the Department deems necessary

* Perhaps not coincidentally, I received this from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earlier today…

Red light cameras are proven safety devices that reduce dangerous red light running, crashes, injuries and deaths. One IIHS study of 79 large US cities found that red light camera programs in those cities saved nearly 1,300 lives through 2014. In the same study, our researchers concluded that the fatal red-light-running crash rate was 30% higher in cities that deactivated cameras than it would have been if the cameras remained on. A summary of research on the topic is available here:

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - lincoln's beard - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    So… nothing about transportation policy or planning, nothing about innovation or new ideas, nothing about safety, efficiency, or making smart investments in the future, but a lot of focus on who gets the benefits of state contracts. Cool, cool.

  2. - Billy Sunday - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 12:42 pm:

    Sandoval: “Madam Chair, do I need to attend? I prefer to work from home these days…”

  3. - bo - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    My issue with cameras isn’t so much that they exist but in the way some are implemented at no turn on red intersections. If the goal is safety, and the no turn and camera are implemented for that purpose…then why are the no turn signs 15 feet back from the intersection where a driver cannot see them from the white line? Not doing so sure makes it seem like you’re trying to catch out of towners off guard at an unfamiliar intersection.

  4. - Kane County Frank - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    Red light cameras are proven safety devices? Gimme a break

  5. - benniefly2 - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    There is a simple solution to red light cameras that doesn’t include banning them and would also placate people like me who view them as mainly revenue generators. The legislature can dictate a maximum fine of $5 or $10 for a right turn on red violation issued through the use of a red light camera.

    Scofflaws legitimately blowing through a red light would still be punished as most reasonable people feel they should. Safety goals would be achieved. Revenues would definitely plummet, but, if it is really about safety, that shouldn’t matter, right?

  6. - LTSW - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    Wonder how much the red light camera companies contribute the IIHS?

  7. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 4:24 pm:

    IIHS study is biased and uses made up data.

  8. - Token Conservative - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 7:17 pm:

    Cullerton: Who should replace our most corrupt member as chair of Transpo?
    Aide: Our most useless member?
    Cullerton: Done.

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