Trotter urges Rauner to release state money for Olive-Harvey Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center

Sen. Donne Trotter

CHICAGO – Sen. Donne Trotter is among those who are demanding the governor release state money for completion of a college training center that is expected to prepare students for thousands of transportation-related jobs in the Chicago region.

Construction on the $45 million Olive-Harvey Transportation Distribution and Logistics Center was halted in 2015 because of the state budget stalemate. Lawmakers included $15 million for the center in the state budget they approved in July. Weeks later, Gov. Bruce Rauner has not released that money.

“This hold on the TDL Center is hurting the prospect of job growth in an area that desperately needs it,” said Sen. Trotter, a Chicago Democrat and vice chairman of a key Senate budget committee. “It’s time for Gov. Rauner to do what’s right to help train the people of Chicago.”

Trotter’s remarks were made Friday morning during a news conference near the location of the center. He was joined by Rep. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.; Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr.; Rep. Justin Slaughter; Chicago 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris; and Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore.

The cost of the center originally was estimated to be about $45 million, with nearly $32 million coming from the state and more than $13 million coming from City Colleges of Chicago. However, as the project has been delayed, the cost of completing the project is expected to increase.

Officials say the facility will help to prepare students for more than 110,000 transportation-related jobs in the next 10 years in an area of Chicago where people are desperate for good-paying careers.

“We must invest in our communities by providing the resources needed to allow all residents the opportunity to access a quality education and a pathway to a career,” Rep. Sims said.

"The governor’s budget impasse has caused programs like the Olive-Harvey Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center to be placed on hold and caused unnecessary damage to communities looking to seize on the economic opportunities of tomorrow. That's why we are urging the governor to release the funds for this center so we can continue investing in and lifting up our communities.”

Ald. Harris said a training facility like the transportation center would be a needed boost in an economically struggling area of the city.

“I’m deeply saddened that Gov. Rauner’s not funding this very important project that would help our youth on the South Side,” she said. “His inaction is very deliberate and an insult to the black community.”

State leaders said they stand with local leaders in urging Rauner to release the funds in the budget.

“Gov. Rauner’s continued war on struggling communities has deprived numerous economic development opportunities for our region. His desire and efforts to strip services from those in need has led to another major project being delayed,” Rep. Slaughter said.

“Thousands of our young people have missed out on good job-training programs in their own community due to Gov. Rauner’s preference to play politics. He must release the funds so this project can finally be completed and so our young people have another opportunity to learn and develop skills for the future.”