DECATUR- Co-Chair of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Illinois Works Coalition and President of Southern Illinois University Glenn Poshard kicked-off a statewide listening tour tonight in Decatur where he heard from area families, business owners and labor leaders about how a comprehensive capital bill will benefit their community. Poshard led the discussion about Illinois Works, Governor Blagojevich's $25 billion capital program to build or rebuild critical infrastructure that would support 700,000 jobs and spur the economy in communities across the state.
The Illinois Works Coalition, a newly formed bipartisan working group chaired by President Poshard and Former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert, will host informal discussions around the state in the coming weeks to draw expertise from business, labor and local leaders in an effort to pass a statewide infrastructure plan in Illinois.
“Illinois Works will significantly bolster our state's infrastructure, which is a vital asset that significantly contributes to our economic success," said Poshard. "Strong infrastructure fosters business growth, supports world-class schools and ensures thriving communities. For more than 100 years, exceptional infrastructure – from rails to airports to universities – has set Illinois’ apart and has helped the state succeed. Now, we need to renew that commitment. It has been nine years since the Illinois General Assembly passed a capital bill. It is long overdue.”
“The Governor's capital program is a win-win for the people of Illinois,” said Mike Carrigan, President of the AFL-CIO, member of the Illinois Works Coalition Steering Committee, and long time Decatur resident. "Our roads and bridges are in dire need of massive upgrades and will be fixed by some 700,000 hard-working men and women across the state. The capital program is good for our economy, and good for people that want to work.”
Decatur residents and elected officials joined Illinois Works Coalition leaders for the discussion about how Governor Blagojevich's capital program will bolster the Decatur economy. Illinois Works projects that will benefit the Decatur area include:
- Up to $50,000 for each school district to meet maintenance needs
- $3.5 million for the reconstruction and engineering of Brush College Road at the Railroad Underpass
- $61.4 million for the construction of additional lanes from Springfield to Taylorville for Illinois 29
- $30 million for new roadway construction of a four lane expressway to US 51
- $1.7 million for resurfacing for a portion of Bruce/Findley Road
- $950,000 for a new bridge on IL 48
In addition to supporting more than 700,000 jobs statewide, Illinois Works will address the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges, build and repair schools across the state, and provide resources for statewide economic development. The Illinois Works plan includes:
· $14.4 billion for road and bridge programs
· $3.8 billion for school construction
· $2.7 billion for public transit
· $1.1 billion for higher education
· $1.1 billion for environment, energy and technology
· $1.0 billion for economic development, including housing
· $600 million for improved and expanded state facilities
· $500 million for airports and rail
This evening’s event in Decatur was the first in a series of events conducted by the Illinois Works Coalition that will occur in various communities in March and April. After the listening tour, the Coalition will share its findings with lawmakers in Springfield in order to help pass a capital bill this legislative session.