In his June 12 comment, Ben Matthews asked about the evolution of the multimodal transportation center project:
Yes, the scope, and you can assume the cost of the multimodal project has changed over time. The building has been three floors and four floors. Yes, the latest version is designed to partially address basic space needs on the City Hall campus.
I am more than happy to find out the latest cost of the project, provide a break down, and identify what spaces will be used for what purpose. But I am certain the scope of the project will continue to evolve depending on the availability of resources and overall community needs.
One thing that has not changed is the main purpose of the multimodal transportation center. It’s intended to be a major Uptown anchor, like transporation centers in many other communities. This is not the first one ever conceived. Take a look at what they have over in Champaign.
It would be a major improvement over the current Amtrak station, and go a long way to enhance the quality of rail service for an ever increasing number of citizens. It would become the major Uptown Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System transfer station, replacing the plastic shelters on North Street near Watterson Towers. It would serve intercity buses. A lot of people ride the Mega Bus that stops here to pick up passengers at the Amtrak station.
There are other intercity buses that drop off and pick up riders at the Amtrak station. There are taxis and shuttles all over our streets. How many other modes of transportation are needed to qualify as a legitimate multimodal station? It’s directly adjacent to Constitution Trail, so there’s a few more modes to consider.
This isn’t a bus barn or a maintenance shed. That’s another facility.
I believe a transportation center would be a convenient and accessible place to hold a public meeting and could house publicly- or privately-owned or leased office space. If the council chambers were moved, the Town could convert the current council chambers to a more productive purpose!
Based on what I’ve heard and the times were in, I would say the prospects for additional federal funding look promising. We pay taxes and we ought to see some of those dollars come back to this community. A major transportation infrastructure project that addresses several needs represents a good use of those resources.
Because federal high speed rail dollars are passed through the State of Illinois, we won’t know how much the Town will receive until a capital bill is finished.
And as we all know, that could be awhile.