Days after receiving positive feedback from bond rating agencies regarding his fiscal year 2015 budget plan, Governor Pat Quinn has unveiled a six-year, $8.6 billion construction program that will improve roads and bridges throughout Illinois while making major investments in public transportation. The projects are part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“This comprehensive plan for our highways, public transit, rail and airport projects will make critical repairs and major improvements across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “A booming economy requires a 21st century infrastructure. Our infrastructure plan will create thousands of construction jobs now while paving the way for more jobs and economic development in the future.”
The fiscal years 2015-2020 highway improvement program will improve 1,845 miles of highway and replace or rehabilitate 384 bridges across Illinois. Among hundreds of projects across the state, the plan includes:
- $308.6 million for construction of a new I-74/US 6 bridge in Moline
- $107.9 million for bridge replacements on the Stevenson Expressway in Chicago
- $110 million for the Alton-Godfrey Expressway
- $204.4 million for US 150 improvements including a bridge replacement in Peoria
- $76.4 million for bridge replacements along I-80 in Will County
- $71 million for a new I-64 bridge over the Wabash River in White County
- $29 million to reconstruct IL Rt. 2/North Main in Rockford
- $52 million for work on I-74 near Champaign and Danville
- $65.2 million for work on IL Rt. 47 in Kendall County
- $27.8 million for resurfacing and bridge work on I-72/US 51 in Decatur
- $27.7 million for improvements to I-72 between New Berlin and Chatham Road in Sangamon County
- $73.9 million for I-70 resurfacing and bridge repair in the Effingham area
- $36.2 million for I-57 road and bridge work around Kankakee
- $65 million for improvements to Route 104 in Morgan and Pike Counties
The improvement program also includes $1.85 billion for public transportation and $800 million for airports with $161 million for fiscal year 2015. Highlights include:
- $60 million to re-establish passenger rail service, which includes a new station in South Elgin for the Chicago-Rockford-Dubuque Corridor in Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties
- $585.1 million to purchase up to 160 Electric Highliner Metra Commuter Cars
- $222 million to provide new intercity passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline for the Chicago-Quad Cities-Iowa City Corridor in Cook and DuPage Counties
- $132.6 million for the Englewood Flyover to reduce Amtrak, Metra and freight passenger rail congestion
- Funding to continue land acquisition and pursue final approval of the South Suburban Airport with the Federal Aviation Administration
- $2.45 million to purchase four 35-foot diesel buses, three super medium duty diesel buses, eight medium duty diesel buses and one minivan for replacement for the Southeastern Illinois RIDES Mass Transit District
“We have made tremendous progress the past few years toward improving the state’s transportation infrastructure,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “However, with federal revenue sources dwindling and the end in sight for Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program, I look forward to supporting the Governor’s call for a bipartisan working group to find ways to continue this progress.”
“Replacing the functionally obsolete I-74 bridge across the Mississippi River will not only increase safety but it will create jobs and economic growth across our region,” Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said. “I am encouraged that Governor Quinn has included this important project in this construction plan and I will continue to work with local, state and federal leaders to ensure it remains prioritized and continues to move forward.”
For fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, 2014, the program has allocated $1.88 billion for road projects, $1.85 billion for public transportation, $2.7 million for rail and $161 million for airport improvements. For the six years of the plan, a total of $5.82 billion is targeted to state highway system improvements with $2.77 billion going toward local transportation needs.
The plan includes $6.99 billion in anticipated federal funds, $1.16 billion in state funds and the remaining $450 million from local and other sources. The $158 million remaining for road and bridge projects from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program is also included in this multi-year program.
Projects that are part of the fiscal years 2015-2020 program will begin after July 1 of this year. Of those projects, IDOT is offering contractors a reimbursement rate of $15 an hour for hiring graduates of the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, an IDOT-sponsored initiative to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in the transportation construction industry.
The Governor is also asking the Illinois General Assembly to form a bipartisan working group to establish the next capital bill to ensure our roads, rail, transit and airports receive additional funding to ensure they are reliable and efficient for the future. Thanks to the Illinois Jobs Now capital bill more than $15.12 billion has been invested in the state’s highways system alone from January 2009 through March 2013, improving more than 7,700 miles of roadways and more than 1,330 bridges.
The announcement follows news that Standard and Poor’s has joined the other two bond rating agencies in noting Illinois’ progress in addressing its budget challenges. The agencies recognized the hard work the state has done to cut costs, pay down old bills and pass a comprehensive pension reform plan. Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch agreed that Governor Quinn’s proposed fiscal year 2015 Budget could bring long-term fiscal stability to Illinois.
The multi-year transportation program builds upon the success of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which is supporting more than 400,000 jobs over six years. It is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation. Prior to its passage by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009, Illinois had gone nearly a decade without a major program to address its critical infrastructure needs.