Durbin, Kirk Announce Nearly $500,000 in DOT Funding to Help Illinois' Veterans Literally "Get to Work"

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a $362,000 competitive grant to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and a $131,325 competitive grant to Lee County, Illinois, to enhance access to affordable transportation for wounded warriors as well as military families and spouses. The funding, which comes through DOT’s new Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, will make it easier for veterans and their families to get to work, the supermarket, medical facilities, and other destinations. Both Senators sent letters in support of IDOT’s grant application earlier this year.


“Our nation’s veterans and their families have sacrificed to protect us at home and abroad,” said Durbin. “As Congress works to ensure that returning heroes can find good-paying jobs, this funding will help make it easier for them to get to and from work, receive high-quality care for their injuries, and help them with their daily activities. We still have more work to do, but today’s announcement is just one way for us to give back to those who have sacrificed so much.”


“At a time when our veterans are facing record unemployment, it is critical we provide the resources they need,” Senator Kirk said. "IDOT's ‘one click transportation website’ will improve access their access to public transportation and is a small way to say 'thank you' to those who wore the uniform.”


The Illinois Department of Transportation will use today’s funding to implement a statewide “one call, one click” transportation resource website offering comprehensive information on local transportation options and other community services at the dial of a phone or the click of a mouse. The website will include transportation services that serve the needs of the state’s veterans such as specialized transit, intercity bus and rail, and ride-sharing services. Lee County’s iVET (Invested in Veterans Transportation) project will use its funding to create a single information source and scheduling point for 5 existing service providers with a focus on the mobility needs of veterans in the area.


This funding is part of nearly $35 million awarded by DOT to 55 projects across the nation. Many military families live in suburban and rural areas where long commutes can be expensive and public transportation options are limited. The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative aims to alleviate some of the burden on military families by enabling states to enhance access to and information about local, affordable transportation options.