Just one week is left to vote for an Illinois Department of Transportation effort with Missouri as the top transportation project in the country. On the line is prestige and $5,000 in prize money that IDOT will award to Southern Illinois University Edwardsvilleâ€™s Upward Bound program.
â€œAt IDOT, we take great pride in our mission to plan, build and maintain a multimodal system of transportation thatâ€™s safe, reliable and improves quality of life,â€� said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. â€œWe urge the public to vote and bring this award to Illinois, where it belongs.â€�
The departments of transportation in Illinois and Missouri are in the running in the online vote for the Peopleâ€™s Choice honor in the 12th annual Americaâ€™s Transportation Awards, hosted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The partnership between IDOT and MoDOT produced several bridge projects over the past decade to improve connections in the metropolitan area with jobs and tourist destinations.
In addition to the Peopleâ€™s Choice Award, the IDOT-MoDOT entry is competing for the national Grand Prize, which is selected by an independent panel. Both awards carry $10,000 in prize money for a charity or nonprofit selected by the winning states.
The Upward Bound program at the SIUE East St. Louis Center has been designated by IDOT to receive $5,000 if it wins either award. The program has several offerings which provides educational opportunities for middle and high school students in school districts of East St. Louis, Cahokia, the SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School, Brooklyn, Madison and Collinsville, with a focus on encouraging low-income, prospective first-generation college students to seek post-secondary education.
Upward Bound and IDOT have long collaborated to teach kids about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers.
In last yearâ€™s Americaâ€™s Transportation Awards, the Interstate 55-Lake Shore Drive interchange in Chicago took home the Grand Prize, a first for IDOT.
The SIUE East St. Louis Center Upward Bound programs help youth prepare for higher education and serves students from East St. Louis and Cahokia (EC), and Brooklyn, East St. Louis Charter and Madison (BEM), High Schools. Participants receive instruction in literature, composition and STEM subjects on college campuses after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. The quality services provided will prepare the students for successful high school completion and entrance into post-secondary programs. Upward Bound is a college-preparatory program designed to serve low-income and/or potential first-generation college students who are currently in grades 9-12.