It's always great to be back in my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, but it was doubly nice to be there last Friday to help break ground on Peoria's Warehouse District complete streets project.
For more than 10 years, Peoria's elected officials and other local leaders have been working toward a vision of a vibrant city that attracts the next generation of talented young professionals. That vision requires offering residents and visitors multiple transportation options from bus transit to roads that are safe and inviting for all users--including bicyclists and pedestrians.
The Warehouse District project takes a complete streets approach to do exactly that. And that's why it's been able to attract a wide range of supporters--from the city of Peoria and private investors to the state of Illinois and the U.S. DOT.
The project received a 2010 TIGER grant to improve 22 blocks of downtown Peoria by making the streets safer and more attractive and by connecting housing with shopping, dining, and employment opportunities.
This project is a great example of how we can boost safety, increase efficiency, improve quality of life, and contribute to our long-term economic competitiveness. This is what TIGER was designed to do--use transportation investments to help generate economic recovery. And it has been working.
I wrote just this morning about a TIGER project that is approaching the finish line--in Kent, Ohio--where a $20 million TIGER grant was the catalyst for nearly $125 million in economic development. Well, that's the kind of activity we think the Warehouse District project will create in Peoria.
I, for one, am happy to see it get started, and I know my neighbors back home in Peoria are, too.