Illinois lawmakers raise awareness for safer school routes

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Lawmakers will host a walking tour to advocate for safer school routes for Illinois kids.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz and GOP Rep. Tim Butler and Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (wo-JIS’-kee hee-MEN’-ehz) will lead the tour from the Capitol to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception school in Springfield on Wednesday.

Advocates say the walk will help participants see the challenges students face walking and biking to school. Illinois Safe Routes to School program is run by the state’s transportation department.

Program leaders say nearly five children are hit by cars every day statewide commuting within a block of a school. The group says it lags behind other states because of reduced federal funds.

The organization has given nearly $50 million to fund about 500 projects to improve safety.

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