Monday, May 23, 2011



The current Illinois passenger license plate, introduced in 2001.
Because of its central location and its proximity to the Rust Belt and Grain Belt, Illinois is a national crossroads for air, auto, rail and truck traffic.
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) is one of the busiest airports in the world, with 59.3 million domestic passengers annually, along with 11.4 million international passengers in 2008. It is a major hub for United Airlines and American Airlines, and a major airport expansion project is currently underway. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) is the secondary airport in the Chicago metropolitan area, a major hub for Southwest Airlines. It served 17.3 million domestic and international passengers in 2008.
Illinois has an extensive passenger and freight rail transportation network. Chicago is a national Amtrak hub and in-state passengers are served by Amtrak's Illinois Service, featuring the Chicago to Carbondale Illini and Saluki, the Chicago to Quincy Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr, and the Chicago to St. Louis Lincoln Service. Currently there is trackwork on the Chicago-St. Louis line to bring the maximum speed up to 110 mph (180 km/h) which would reduce the trip time by an hour and a half. Nearly every North American railway meets at Chicago, making it one of the largest and most active rail hubs in the world. Extensive commuter rail is provided in the city proper and some immediate suburbs by the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' system. The largest suburban commuter rail system in the United States, operated by Metra, uses existing rail lines to provide direct commuter rail access for hundreds of suburbs to the city and beyond.
In March 2011, Illinois ranked as a bottom-seven "Worst" state (tied with Georgia and Oklahoma) in the American State Litter Scorecard. The Land of Lincoln suffers from overall poor effectiveness and quality of its statewide public space cleanliness (primarily from roadway and adjacent litter/debris abatement)--due to state and related eradication standards and performance indicators.
Major U.S. Interstate highways crossing the state include: I-24, I-39, I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-72, I-74, I-80, I-88, I-90, and I-94. Its central location is the reason that Illinois carries the distinction of having the most primary (2-digit) Interstates pass through it among the 50 states.
In addition to the state's rail lines, the Mississippi River and Illinois River provide major transportation routes for the state's agricultural interests. Lake Michigan gives Illinois access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

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