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Holly Bieneman: Director of Planning and Programming

Bieneman originally began working at IDOT in 2016 as the Metropolitan Planning section chief and was promoted to bureau chief of Planning in 2017 before taking on her current role Sept. 16.

As director of OPP, she will lead the group in continuing the great work it’s currently undertaking, including performance-based programming and planning, research, data collection and innovative project delivery. She also plans to make a few advancements.

“One thing we have continued to enhance is the tools that inform our decision-making as it relates to planning and programming,” Bieneman said. “This will continue to be improved. The more we know, the better we can do, so I strongly believe in developing tools that will help us make even more educated decisions as we move forward with implementing Rebuild Illinois.”

Another thing Bieneman is excited about taking on in her new role is helping to improve diversity on projects throughout the state.

“I’m looking forward to evaluating how we can add equity and accessibility considerations into our planning and programming decisions and continue that initiative into innovative project delivery opportunities,” Bieneman said. “Transportation does have a role to play in enhancing accessibility and social mobility for disadvantaged populations, and we will do our best to create opportunity for those populations.”

Bieneman also plans to leverage technical advancements for the good of the department.

“With the advancement of technology, we have new ways to share information and data we have collected, and I look forward to implementing that!”

OPP is responsible for the Long-Range Transportation Plan, which informs the department’s programming decisions documented in the Multi-Year Highway Improvement Program and Multi-Year Multi-Modal Improvement Program. The office also conducts research through the Bureau of Research and collects data through the Bureau of Data Collection and other bureaus in OPP. In addition, OPP reviews opportunities for innovative funding, financing and project delivery.

“All of these combine to help us make performance-based planning and programming decisions,” Bieneman said.

Bieneman is enthusiastic about her new role and responsibilities.

“I’m so excited to work with the phenomenal staff of the Office of Planning and Programming,” Bieneman said. “They are what guides the department’s investment and policy decisions, and we have so much opportunity ahead of us with implementing Rebuild Illinois!”

Prior to working at IDOT, Bieneman was at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, where she managed numerous transportation programs, coordinated with local jurisdictions to program and accomplish projects, and assisted in development of their first long-range transportation plan. Bieneman also worked for McHenry County coordinating with local jurisdictions in managing their Surface Transportation Program funds. She has an undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in public administration and economics as well as a graduate degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University.

Bieneman said her education and experience have helped her enormously at IDOT.

“I have seen the department through many lenses,” said Bieneman. “From a local government with federal funds moving a project through the local roads process to a district programming engineer who has to coordinate the use of funds through an MPO while juggling a whole lot of other considerations. I also learned about federal funds, state funds and how we track them both – from the vantage point of a local and the department. Combine that with having mainly worked at a planning agency and supporting the planners by keeping one foot on the ground of implementing projects leads me to excel at the department.”

Outside of the office, Bieneman enjoys outdoor activities such as bike riding, kayaking and hiking with her family and two dogs. She also enjoys watching her husband’s band play covers of 90s alternative rock.

Originally from rural unincorporated Kane County, Bieneman spent much of her youth in the nearest city, Elgin. She now lives in Chatham with her family, including her husband, stepdaughters, two dogs and two cats.