PONTOON BEACH - At a press conference on last Friday, December 16, Madison County Transit (MCT) announced a multi-year, multi-million-dollar initiative to expand and enhance the MCT Trails and improve access to the MCT public bus system. MCT and Agency for Community Transit (ACT) Board members, elected officials, members of the press, and representatives from Heartlands Conservancy as well as the Metro East Parks and Recreation District (MEPRD) were on hand as MCT Managing Director SJ Morrison announced the various capital investments.
MCT Trails Investments:
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The MCT Board of Trustees has obligated $34 million for trail projects in 18 Madison County communities, to be initiated over the course of the next five years. Funds will be used for 19 projects that will extend the MCT Trails into new communities, neighborhoods, parks, and commercial areas. The projects will add more than 20 miles of new trails to the system, as well as two new tunnels and seven new bridges. “It’s our belief that these improvements will have a transformative impact on the residents and communities of Madison County, Illinois,” said Morrison. “If there was any question about whether Madison County was the “Bike Trail Hub of the Midwest,” this should remove any doubts.” The projects are divided into five geographic zones:
- Riverbend Zone: MCT has committed $12,150,000 to projects in 7 Riverbend communities, including A shared use path in Downtown Alton; funds to support the Godfrey Trail from LaVista to Glazebrook Park; a new trail from the new MCT Eastgate Park & Ride in East Alton to the MCT Confluence Trail; An extension of the MCT Goshen Trail into Roxana, Wood River, Bethalto, and South Roxana.
- Central Zone: MCT has committed $4,350,000 to projects in Central Madison County, including A tunnel under IL-157 for the MCT Schoolhouse Trail in Collinsville; New trail extensions in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon; a bridge for the Schoolhouse Trail in Maryville at Pleasant Ridge Road; and a study to determine the best alignment to extend the MCT Trails from the SIUE campus to the MCT Confluence Trail along the river.
- Southwest Zone: MCT has committed $10,500,000 to projects in Southwest Madison County, including A bridge over IL-111 for the MCT Schoolhouse Trail in Pontoon Beach; a series of trail projects in Granite City to connect trails to parks, neighborhoods, and commercial areas; an extension of the MCT Schoolhouse Trail into Madison; a trail connection from the MCT Confluence Trail near the McKinley Bridge into Venice and throughout the community.
- East Zone: MCT has committed $6.5 million to projects in Eastern Madison County, including A signature trail bridge over US 40 to connect Troy to the MCT Trails system; and an extension of the MCT Silver Creek Trail from Troy to St. Jacob and Highland.
In addition to the projects listed above, MCT has also committed $500,000 to launch an Arts in Transit and Arts on the Trails initiative throughout the MCT service area. Over the next several months, MCT will be working with Heartlands Conservancy for assistance with public engagement on these projects and the development of a formal MCT Trails Master Plan.
In addition to the MCT Trails projects, the MCT Board of Trustees has also prioritized and is pursuing nearly $11 million in capital improvements to the MCT public transportation network. Transit projects include:
- MCT Logistics Valley Transfer Station: $2 million for a new MCT transfer station in the IL-111 corridor to serve the growing Madison County warehouse districts known as “Logistics Valley.”
- MCT Collinsville Park & Ride Facility: $2.8 million for a new Collinsville Park & Ride lot in the IL-157 corridor to improve transit access throughout Madison County and to employment in St. Louis.
- MCT CAD/AVL System: $3 million for a new Computer Aided Dispatch/Automated Vehicle Location system which will not only create operational efficiencies, and allow for schedule reliability, it will provide the public with real-time “next bus” information, accessible on any mobile device.
- MCT Granite City Station Renovation: Currently underway, nearly $1 million in renovations and improvements to the MCT Granite City Station.
Morrison also mentioned that MCT is pursuing electric driver relief vehicles and corresponding infrastructure as well as a strategy to right-size the bus fleet by replacing larger buses with smaller shuttle-sized light-duty vehicles. “We have an MCT Board that is action-oriented and a team of ACT staff that is passionate about making an impact on our communities,” said Morrison. “We look forward to working to make the already great communities of Madison County, Illinois even better places to live, work, and visit.”
Elected officials in attendance included Mayors: Darren Carlton (East Alton), Art Risavy (Edwardsville), Mike Parkinson (Granite City), Kevin Hemann (Highland), Rich Schiefer (St. Jacob), Tyrone Echols (Venice), John Hamm (Madison), and Tom Stalcup (Wood River); Illinois State Representatives Amy Elik and Katie Stuart; Madison County Administrator Dave Tanzyus, and Madison County Board Members Stacey Pace and Bill Stoutenborough.