SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with members of the Illinois Works Coalition, co-chaired by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, at the Executive Mansion in Springfield following the launch of the coalition’s statewide listening tour. The Illinois Works Coalition is hosting informal discussions around the state to draw expertise from business, labor and local leaders in an effort to pass Illinois Works - Governor Blagojevich's $25 billion capital program to build or rebuild critical infrastructure that would support 700,000 jobs statewide.
Last evening, President Poshard led the first discussion in Decatur with families, business owners and labor leaders about how a comprehensive capital program would benefit their communities.
“This coalition will link families, businesses and labor leaders as we build support for a capital bill this spring,” said Governor Blagojevich. “The nation’s economy continues to struggle. We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can in Illinois to put people to work. A capital program is central in our efforts.”
“It has been nine years too long and it’s time for capital investments," said Co-Chair Hastert. “I am pleased to meet with the entire Coalition and continue to take further steps to get this bill passed.”
“This bill means a great deal to the people of Illinois and would better improve our schools and transportation infrastructure,” said Co-Chair Poshard. “Illinois Works is a wealth of opportunities in so many different ways and the fact that it would support so many jobs is key in this economy.”
Illinois Works will support more than 700,000 jobs and fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges, build and repair schools across the state, and provide resources for statewide economic development. The Governor’s 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
During the listening tour, members of the coalition travel to communities around the state to hear directly from residents about the depth of capital needs around the state. The objective of the visits is to document the extensive need for capital investment in Illinois and to build grassroots support by recruiting additional coalition members throughout the state. Coalition members will share their findings with lawmakers in Springfield in order to ensure a capital bill is passed by the General Assembly this legislative session.