About $26.4 million, or 25 percent of ITEP’s available funds, has been earmarked for projects in “high-need communities,” communities identified as disadvantaged or economically distressed. Factor used to identify “high-need” areas include community median income and total property tax base.

“Part of our core mission at IDOT is empowering disadvantaged communities and working with local decision makers to improve transportation options and quality of life,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a news release. “Under Gov. (JB) Pritzker, we have made major improvements to the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program that will mean greater participation and more resources where they are needed most.”

Eligible projects for ITEP funding must fall under one of nine categories: Pedestrian and bicycle facilities; beautification of streetscapes; converting abandoned railroads into trails; preserving and rehabilitating historic transportation buildings; vegetation management on roads; archaeological activity impacted by other transport projects; storm water and pollution management; reducing roadkill and connecting animal habitats near roads; and constructing turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas for residents.

IDOT will score the applications based on the merits of the proposed project, including factors such as public benefit, relevance to the program’s requirements, local commitment to the project and others.

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