Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in northeastern Illinois

The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in roads, bridges, and rail. Northeastern Illinois is using this moment to create a more resilient transportation network that serves everyone better.

To maximize the infrastructure law’s opportunities, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) worked with partners and stakeholders to identify priority projects for the region and achieve consensus around sustainable solutions to our transportation challenges.

These projects align with the core principles that guide IIJA and our region — inclusive growth, resilience, and prioritized investment. Since IIJA became law, the region already has seen progress on its priority projects.

Regional partners, including Metra, successfully applied for Mega grant funding to enhance and rebuild Metra’s Union Pacific North line, from Fullerton Avenue to Addison Street in Chicago.

The $117 million in Mega funding will help replace approximately 11 bridges, four miles of track structure, and nearly two miles of retaining walls along the line. Metra estimates that the project will make the line safer and more efficient, reducing passenger delay by 38 million hours over the next 30 years.

The infrastructure law’s Mega grant program funds large and significant projects that can deliver the most benefits for a region. Partners throughout northeastern Illinois had also applied for Mega funding to modernize Union Station in Chicago and transform I-290 into a modern multimodal corridor.

A regional priority project to rehabilitate four bridges that cross over the Calumet River in Chicago also has received a $144 million grant funded through the infrastructure law’s Bridge Investment Program. The project will create more reliable and safer connections for the many residents, vehicles, and ships that rely on the bridges each day.

With support from the infrastructure law, the region can continue to work together to rebuild and reimagine our infrastructure so that it is equitable, accessible, and safer for our nearly 8.6 million residents.

What grant opportunities does IIJA fund?

The infrastructure law creates more than 20 competitive grant programs that can address northeastern Illinois’ most pressing transportation challenges. Many of the grant programs align with regional priorities outlined in ON TO 2050.

The list below includes many of the grant programs funded through IIJA:

What does IIJA mean for northeastern Illinois?

The infrastructure law provides more funding for the region’s transportation programs that address the ways people travel, challenges with congestion and air quality, and improvements that can keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe. More funding through IIJA will allow the region to implement projects faster.

The infrastructure law increases funding for four main transportation programs:

  • Surface Transportation Block Grant: This program supports regional and local needs and funds improvements to bridges, roads, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian networks. Projects that support electric vehicle charging and emerging transportation technologies also qualify for this funding under the infrastructure law.
  • Transportation Alternatives Program: This program strengthens mobility options for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as improvements to recreational trails and streetscapes.
  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: This program funds regional and local projects that reduce congestion and emissions. Infrastructure that supports bike sharing and purchases of zero-emission vehicles and charging equipment also are eligible for CMAQ funding under the infrastructure law.
  • Metropolitan Planning Program: This supports CMAP’s technical assistance services and other regional planning efforts in northeastern Illinois.

The chart below breaks down funding estimates for Illinois through federal fiscal year 2026.

Program nameFFY21 funding estimates for IllinoisFFY26 funding estimates for IllinoisPercent increase
Surface Transportation Block Grants$425.7 million$526 million+23.5%
Transportation Alternatives Program$46.9 million$50.8 million+8.3%
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality$117.5 million$129 million+24.5%
Metropolitan Planning Program$21.9 million$24.3 million+10.9%

What new programs does IIJA create?

The infrastructure law establishes programs that can make our regional transportation system stronger and more resilient for the next generation of users. These programs, funded through a state formula, can reduce emissions, reinvigorate aging infrastructure, and modernize the ways people travel.

The infrastructure law’s new formula programs include:

  • Carbon Reduction Program: This invests in projects that can reduce emissions from transportation.
  • PROTECT Program: This funds state and regional projects that strengthen flood protection and resilient infrastructure.
  • Bridge Formula Program: This supports projects that repair or replace bridges, making them safer, more efficient, and reliable.
  • National Electric Vehicle Program: This invests in projects that create electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure.

The chart below breaks down the funding estimates for Illinois.

Program nameFFY21 funding estimates for IllinoisFFY26 funding estimates for IllinoisPercent increase
Carbon Reduction$43.3 million$46.9 million+8.3%
PROTECT$49.3 million$53.36 million+8.2%
Bridge Formula$297.2 million$321 million+8%
National Electric Vehicle$21.9 million$23.7 million+8.2%