Late in December, Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-4th) announced $27 million in federal funding for communities in his district, including $840,000 for the suburban bus service Pace to install traffic signal prioritization equipment for Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road.

The equipment, which will be installed at 30 traffic signals on Harlem Avenue from Cermak Road to Ogden Avenue and on Cermak Road from 54th Avenue to Harlem Avenue, will allow Pace bus drivers to communicate with the traffic signals to shorten red lights or lengthen green lights to keep buses on schedule.

The federal funding will pay for installing the equipment at 24 of the 30 signals. The total project cost is $1.05 million, with equipment and installation pegged at about $35,000 per intersection.

Pace spokesperson Maggie Daly Skogsbakken said Pace will use state and Regional Transportation Authority capital funds to cover the balance of the cost for installation.

The signal improvements are connected to Pace’s plans to make Harlem Avenue and Cermak roads, which Daly Skogsbakken said “have some of the heaviest bus ridership in Pace’s service area,” part of the agency’s new Pulse rapid-transit network.

“Pace has been working for many years with the Regional Transportation Authority, IDOT, and Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways on implementing transit signal priority in these corridors,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger. “We all see the positive impact this will have on travel times and reliability, improving access to employment, education, medical care, and essential resources for those we serve.”

It is unclear when Pace will begin installation of the equipment. The funding was approved as part of the federal government’s 2023 Fiscal Year omnibus spending package signed into law by President Joe Biden on Dec. 29.