FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2003
GALESBURG, ILL. – With outdated fire trucks in the background at the Galesburg Fire Station, 150 S. Broad, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation creating an interest-free loan program to help local fire departments purchase new vehicles. The governor made the announcement during his three-day tour of northwest Illinois.
“Today I am keeping my commitment to help our communities keep their citizens safe,” Blagojevich said. “Many of our smaller fire departments – particularly downstate – don’t have the financial wherewithal to purchase modern equipment, especially expensive fire trucks.”
The governor was joined for the signing by the bill’s sponsors state Reps. Michael Smith, D-Canton, and Don Moffit, R-Gilson, as well as former state Sen. Carl Hawkinson, the governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety.
House Bill 115 creates the Revolving Fire Truck Loan program, which will provide zero-interest loans of up to $250,000 to fire departments or fire protection districts for the purchase of new fire trucks. The loans must be repaid at a rate of at least five percent a year for total payoff within 20 years. The State Fire Marshall will develop eligibility standards and rules for the loan program.
Pumper trucks, the type of vehicles used by most fire departments in smaller communities, cost between $200,000 and $250,000 – an amount that is prohibitively expensive for many fire departments.
“Whether you live in a community of 200 or 2 million, you still depend on local emergency service personnel to keep you and your family safe,” the governor said. “Making sure firefighters have vehicles that will get them where to the emergency scene quickly is in the entire community’s best interest.”