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May 5, 2000


NORTH RIVERSIDE - Governor George H. Ryan today marked the one-year anniversary of the Illinois FIRST program by officially announcing a $3.5 million project to establish a new water storage facility that will serve Riverside and North Riverside.

"Over the past year, Illinois FIRST has made a big difference in communities just like these," Ryan said. "We have been able to improve water and sewer systems, roads and our schools."

Joined by Rep. Bill O' Connor and Sen. Tom Walsh, Governor Ryan announced a $2 million Illinois FIRST grant will be issued to Riverside through the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency also will issue a $1.5 million grant to North Riverside. The grant funds will be used to help build a new water storage facility and connect the water systems of both communities. This will provide increased and reliable reserve for potable water and fire protection.

On May 4, 1999, Ryan proposed Illinois FIRST before a joint session of the General Assembly. Later that month, the initiative was approved by both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. On June 15, Ryan signed Illinois FIRST into law.

Illinois FIRST, a Fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools and Transit, was developed by Governor Ryan to build, repair and upgrade the unmet critical infrastructure needs facing the citizens of Illinois. Included in the $12 billion package is a total of $4.1 billion dollars for the construction and repair of roads, highways and bridges, as well as railroad crossing safety, high-speed rail preparation and air transportation needs.

Another $4.1 billion is being invested in Illinois' deteriorating public transit system, while the state's School Construction Program has been doubled under Illinois FIRST, providing $2.2 billion to help local school districts build new classrooms and upgrade outdated facilities. Also, a $1.6 million quality of life component will allow Illinois FIRST to address essential infrastructure needs such as water and sewage treatment facilities and public safety initiatives.

Ryan recognized the one-year anniversary of the Illinois FIRST program with a five-city, Illinois FIRST fly-around. Other stops on the governor's schedule included Chicago where Illinois FIRST will provide $42 million to the Lake Michigan Shoreline Protection Project. In Rochester, Ryan announced $39 million project to expand Route 29 from two lanes to four lanes in Sangamon and Christian counties. In Rock Island, Ryan toured the new Black Hawk College Technology Center that was made possible through a $450,000 Illinois FIRST grant. And in Quincy the governor highlighted the $85 million Illinois FIRST project that will extend Route 336 from Quincy to Macomb.


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