Northwestern University honored former Illinois Cong. William O. Lipinski Monday last week for his public service and outstanding contributions to transportation and its critical role in the economic health of Chicago and the State of Illinois.
At a special ceremony, the Lipinski Floor was dedicated in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center. The event included the unveiling of a portrait of the congressman and a plaque honoring his service.
The ceremony featured remarks by President Henry S. Bienen and David Schulz, director of the University’s Infrastructure Technology Institute.
The Lipinski Floor, on the first floor of the Ford Building, houses the Infrastructure Technology Institute and the Master of Management and Manufacturing Program, an initiative of the Kellogg and McCormick schools.
Lipinski served 11 terms in the U.S. Congress as representative of the Third Illinois Congressional District in Chicago’s South Side and was the ranking member on a number of Subcommittees of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including the Subcommittee on Railroads, the Subcommittee on Aviation and, most recently, the Subcommittee on Highways, Transit and Pipelines.
He was instrumental in securing millions of dollars for highway, highway safety mass transit and surface transportation programs for Chicago-area air, rail and highway projects.
Those projects included the Southwest Rapid Transit rail link between Midway and Chicago’s Loop; reconstruction of the Stevenson Expressway and Wacker Drive; rail transit improvements, including the CREATE Railroad Program, rebuilding the CTA’s Douglas Park and Ravenswood lines, and upgrading and expanding Metra’s Southwest, Kane County, and North Central corridors; and air transit innovations that included a funding mechanism for airport infrastructure modernization nationwide and mandatory installation of defibrillators on commercial aircraft.
A lifetime resident of Chicago, Lipinski served 17 years with the Chicago Park District and two terms as a Chicago Alderman before being elected to Congress in 1982.
Lipinski recently was appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today to chair the new Regional Transportation Task Force, which will make recommendations on how to create an integrated transportation system to serve the needs of residents in northeastern Illinois.