CHICAGO – Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert and President of Southern Illinois University Glenn Poshard visited the Chicago area as part of their ongoing listening tour across the state in support of Illinois Works, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s $25 billion capital improvement program. At two separate stops in Chicagoland, the Illinois Works Coalition co-chairs continued to hear from Illinois residents about the immediate need for a capital bill.
At a roundtable discussion this morning in southwest Chicago hosted by United States Representative Dan Lipinski elected officials, business and civic leaders provided input on area project and priorities. This evening at the Museum of Science and Industry, representatives of the Chicagoland’s cultural, education and environmental communities engaged in a discussion about how a capital bill affects their goals.
The Illinois Works Coalition, a bipartisan working group chaired by Hastert and Poshard, is hosting informal discussions around the state to draw expertise from business, labor and community leaders in an effort to pass a statewide infrastructure plan in Illinois. Today’s session were the ninth and tenth in a series of listening sessions taking place across the state.
“As we continue to travel across Illinois, the need for a capital bill is being reinforced in community after community,” said Hastert. “The people we talk to are depending on us to get the job done.”
“Illinois Works is not only about roads and bridges, it is about the improving the quality of life of our residents,”said Poshard. “Today we heard from a diverse group who all need a capital bill.
Chicagoland residents and elected officials joined Illinois Works Coalition leaders for the discussion about how Governor Blagojevich's capital program will bolster the Chicagoland area economy. Illinois Works projects benefiting the Chicago area include:
CREATE Program in Cook County. This project provides an additional$100 million for the $1.5 billion CREATE program, which focuses rail operations on 5 corridors and builds 25 road/rail grade separations, 6 passenger/freight rail flyovers and 50 miles of new track.
$315 million to make improvements to Wacker Drive.
$15 million to begin planning the reconstruction and renovation of Lake Shore Drive.
$71.1 million for a bridge replacement, retaining wall and additional lanes for 5.5 miles of US 30/Lincoln Highway from east of William Street to US 45 (96th Avenue) in Will County.
$43.3 million for additional lanes for 2.3 miles of US 30 from Illinois 59 (Division Street) to north of Interstate 55 in Will County.
$63.6 million for additional lanes for 3.2 miles of US 45 from Washington Street to Illinois 137 in Grayslake in Lake County.
$40.3 million for additional lanes for 2.1 miles and a bridge replacement of Illinois 47 from Reed Road to Kreutzer Road in Huntley in McHenry County.
$22.1 million for bridge rehabilitation of the Congress Parkway over the South Branch of the Chicago River in Cook County.
$3.3 million for the I-90/Kennedy Expressway at Sayre Avenue Bridge.
$1.2 million for the bridge overlay at Illinois 43/Harlem Avenue.
Over $32 million for bridge repairs along Illinois 171.
$5 million for bridge improvements on Willow Springs Road at the Des Plaines River and Canal.
$2.9 million for a new bridge deck on I-57 at 115th Street.
$3.85 million for bridge improvements on Burnham Ave. over State Street, Railroads and the Little Calumet River.
$1.5 million for a new bidge deck at Illinois 56 at Blackberry Creek.
$2.25 million for a new bridge at Palatine Road at the Des Plaines River.
$1 million for a bridge deck overlay at IL 59/Neltnor Blvd.
$3.8 million for bridge repairs at US52/IL64. (BULLET)
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
Upon completion of the listening tour, the Illinois Works Coalition will share its findings with lawmakers in Springfield in order to help pass a capital bill this legislative session.