WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a meeting with members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation today in the nation’s capital, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich outlined major Illinois initiatives he wants to see included in the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2005.
“When we put together our priority list for projects for Illinois that we would like to see in the federal budget and legislation we would like to see passed, we thought about it very carefully,” the Governor said. “We chose projects, programs and legislation that reflect the priorities of the people of Illinois. We chose projects, programs, and legislation that would create jobs, reduce congestion, and help keep the people of our state safe.”
The Governor focused on five key areas to help spur job growth and economic development in Illinois.
Transportation: Blagojevich pushed for passage of the federal transportation re-authorization bill that recently passed the U.S. Senate and includes more than $1 billion per year over the next six years for Illinois road projects. The funding could translate into 10,000 new jobs.
Scott Air Force Base and Rock Island Arsenal: The Governor is working with Congressmen Jerry Costello and Lane Evans, and is hiring military affairs specialists to work with the Department of Defense, to keep Scott Air Force Base and the Rock Island Arsenal off the list of base closings. Scott is one of the largest employers in Southern Illinois and contributes more than $1.5 billion to the local economy. The Rock Island arsenal pumps almost $800 million into the Quad Cities region each year. Together, the bases support almost 70,000 jobs for Illinois.
FutureGen: Blagojevich is working aggressively with the Delegation to attract the FutureGen project to Southern Illinois. FutureGen is a 10-year, $1 billion federal project to create the world’s first coal-based, zero-emissions power plant. When completed, it will be the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power plant in the world.
Rare Isotope Accelerator: Blagojevich wants to make sure that Argonne National Labs is chosen as the home of the new Rare Isotope Accelerator. The project could bring 400 new jobs and $50 million each year to the local economy.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: The Governor is seeking federal help to transform the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum into a fitting tribute to one of the greatest leaders in our nation’s history. The new presidential library will bring millions of dollars into the economy of central Illinois and enhance the reputation of Illinois around the world.
Other needs for more federal help that the Governor highlighted were in the area of public safety. He cited a need for Illinois to receive a larger share of homeland security funds; funding for the StarCom 21, a statewide police radio system; and funding for the I-CLEAR system, a new database that will allow all 1,200 police agencies across Illinois to share crime-fighting information quickly and accurately.