Public Involvement Program
Public involvement began when the study started and will continue well after it is completed. Proactive and early public involvement resulted in an improved plan with more effective implementation. . Throughout the development of the Illinois State Rail Plan, the Illinois Department of Transportation sought to increase public awareness and interaction amongst all stakeholders. A stakeholder is defined as an interested party who can directly affect the outcome of the planning process. The inclusive process contributed to a program that is responsive to the unique conditions surrounding the study, provides for continuing substantive input, ensures that public concerns get a fair hearing, and meets all federal, state, and local requirements. It was based on techniques that have yielded successful results with hundreds of programs.
As described herein, there were several methods for the public to become involved and obtain information about the project. Information was provided regarding upcoming public meeting events, project schedule, and general project status updates, as well as, instructions for providing feedback.
Public information meetings were held at key points during the project development phase to engage the public. The purpose of the meetings was to gather the public’s thoughts and concerns regarding the information presented. Questions raised by meeting participants were answered immediately or addressed in subsequent meetings, letters or other communication mechanisms. Comments received at the public meetings were documented, and the information was considered as a part of the analysis and evaluation of the project. Individuals on the mailing list received invitations announcing future meetings.
Stakeholder Involvement Plan (SIP)
The Stakeholder Involvement Plan (SIP) sought to increase public awareness, interaction, and information so that a more inclusive decision-making process led to increased potential for a positive outcome of future rail service within the State of Illinois. The key objectives of the SIP included:
- Proactive outreach to stakeholders;
- Early and continuous community participation;
- Reasonable access to information in clear, jargon free language;
- Opportunity for public comment prior to key decisions; and
- Focus stakeholder participation on decisions.
The design and implementation of a flexible stakeholder involvement program was intended to be responsive to the unique conditions surrounding the program, to provide for continuing substantive input, to ensure that public concerns got a fair hearing, and to meet all federal, state, and local requirements. To view the Stakeholder Involvement Plan, please click the link below.