The grants are a portion of the nearly $300 million doled out through President Obama's Livability Initiative to municipalities around the country to pay for 53 transit proposals including bus, streetcar and trolley projects. The initiative is a joint venture of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The first $24.6 million grant will establish a Chicago Central Area Transitway, designed to facilitate and speed bus traffic through the Loop. This route will connect Union Station and Navy Pier with several stops in between. As a result of the project, seven bus lines will use color-coded priority lanes, as well as bus signal priority in intersections.
The second project, using $11 million of the funding, will better connect parts of the South Side to the Loop, specifically Jeffery Boulevard from 103rd Street and Stony Island Avenue to Jefferson and Washington streets.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said that the Jeffrey project will "greatly improve connections to the heart of downtown for very transit-dependent communities," according to the Chicago Tribune.
He added that “today's announcement represents a very significant investment to improve mobility in Chicago in an affordable and efficient way”.