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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2007

Blagojevich administration officials, lawmakers, labor and business leaders visit Champaign to build support for Illinois Works
Plan will support 725,000 jobs statewide; provide $209 million for Champaign area schools, roads, bridges, and economic development projects; New revenue stream also provides $19.6 million more in annual funding for Champaign area schools

CHAMPAIGN – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Deputy Governor Louanner Peters today joined legislators, labor and business leaders at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to build support for Illinois Works, the $25.4 billion capital plan approved unanimously on September 18th by the Illinois State Senate. For the Champaign area, that means $209 million for critical local projects. The bill will head to the Illinois House of Representatives when they reconvene for the fall legislative session beginning October 2nd. Gov. Blagojevich is urging members to work across party lines and pass the legislation, which will fund projects that are vital to keeping Illinois families safe and helping communities thrive.

The landmark Illinois Works building plan is expected to support more than 725,000 jobs statewide and will launch a comprehensive program to improve aging roads, bridges and mass transit, as well as university and school buildings in communities throughout the state.

“It is essential that the members of the Illinois House work together to pass ‘Illinois Works,’ a plan that provides the funding needed to keep our roads and bridges safe. It puts money in our schools, so Illinois children get access to the best teaching resources. ‘Illinois Works’ funds the projects our communities need in order to provide jobs, public transportation and projects that keep us safe from environmental hazards,” said the Deputy Governor Peters. “Last week the men and women in the Illinois Senate – Democrats and Republicans – joined together to pass ‘Illinois Works’ unanimously. The time for talk and discussion has long passed, and the people of Illinois need action. I am urging the Illinois House not to waste time but to cast a vote for people – not politics.”

Illinois Works would be funded with new revenue brought in from a publicly-owned casino in Chicago and two other new casinos, along with an expansion of positions at existing casinos. In addition to providing money to improve statewide infrastructure, the legislation would also provide $300 million more each year for schools statewide, building on the $550 million education funding increase included the budget for fiscal year 2008. For schools in the Champaign area, that means a total increase of $19.6 million a year in state support.

Combined with federal, state and local funds, the multi-year program will provide:
• $15.625 billion to build and improve roads and bridges;

• $4.875 billion for K-12 education and higher education school construction projects;

• $2.588 billion for public transit, passenger rail and airports;

• $6.25 billion for economic development projects that will enhance Illinois’ communities;

• $1.116 billion for environmental and energy projects that will improve drinking and waste water facilities statewide, redevelop brownfields, and improve and repair state-owned dams;

• $4.875 billion to renovate and expand state facilities across Illinois.

Locally, the people of Champaign will benefit from Illinois Works through:

Roads and Bridges

• $5.9 million for engineering for design, location and environmental studies at Interstate 74 Interchange east of Urbana.

• $6.3 million for the construction of 0.5 of roads for the expansion of Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

• $52.4 million for the construction of 7.15 miles of additional lanes and engineering on Interstate 74 from Illinois 47 at Mahomet to 0.5 miles west of Interstate 57.

• $1.25 million to replace the bridge on US45 at Spring Creek

• $1.96 million to replace the bridge on ILL 128 at Little Moccasin Creek

Public Transportation

• $425 million in state funds to match $1.7 billion in federal dollars for transit agencies. The combined $2.125 billion program will make funds available for agencies to purchase new buses and rail cars, build new stations, and reconstruct commuter rail bridges and elevated rail structures.

• $29 million to provide operating assistance to downstate transit districts

Education

• $1.75 billion for the school construction program including $150 million to fund the 24 school districts awarded grants in Fiscal Year 2002.

• $150 million for the school maintenance program to provide up to $50,000 to each school district in the state to meet their maintenance needs.

• $10 million to fund a new early childhood facilities program.

• In FY07, Urbana-Champaign received $130,501,449 in General State Aid. The Foundation Level is set in statute at $5,334.

• The budget that passed would provide Urbana-Champaign with $141,410,232, which is an additional $10,908,784. However, this can only happen if legislation is passed by the General Assembly to increase the Foundation Level to $5,734 per student. This legislation is currently pending action in the House.

• If the Capital Bill passes, it will receive $150,104,957, which is an additional $19,603,508 more than the FY 07 level. Again, this will require legislation to increase the Foundation Level to $5,900 per student.

• $25,000,000 for renovations, upgrades, or replacement of power station at Eastern Illinois University.

• $1,500,000 to the Board of Trustees of Eastern Illinois University for the purchase of equipment to complete the renovation and expansion of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

• $55,100,000 for renovating Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

• $16,910,000 for constructing a Post Harvest Crop Research Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

• $42,000,000 for constructing an Electrical and Computer Engineering Building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

• $773,300 to Eastern Illinois University for miscellaneous capital improvements.

• $6,225,400 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for miscellaneous capital improvements.

• $200 million to support the state’s private colleges and universities.

• $250 million for the state’s community college system.

Environment and Energy

• $155 million to leverage over $370 million in federal funds and improve drinking and wastewater facilities across the state, redevelop brownfields, remove and repair state-owned dams, support the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and make grants available to Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

• $475 million to build up to 20 new ethanol plants, build up to 5 new biodiesel plants, construct new clean coal gasification facilities, and encourage our energy independence.

• $25 million to clean-up the backlog of leaking underground storage tank claims.

Economic Development

• $850,000 for the Vermillion Civic Center.

Technology Project

• $60,000,000 for the Petascale Computing Facility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“These proposed capital projects are central to the University of Illinois missions of teaching and research,” said B. Joseph White, president of the University of Illinois. “We owe it to the citizens of Illinois both to maintain existing campus infrastructure and to build new facilities to meet the needs of future students and researchers. I have frequently stated that the University of Illinois is the most important asset for a prosperous future for the state of Illinois. We educate 70,000 students and graduate 17,000 each year. The state also benefits from the discoveries of our 6,000 professor-researchers and their more than $750 million annually of funded research in science, engineering, technology, business and health care.”

“This capital bill is good for union workers and good for all of Illinois,” said Chip Hull, Business Agent of the Laborers Local 703. “This is a no-brainer. Everyone benefits from a capital bill. This is going to make this university a better place to be.”

The Illinois House of Representatives is expected to take up the bill when they reconvene on October 2 for the fall veto session.


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