Historic statewide construction package signed into law

Historic statewide construction package signed into law

Communities across the state will see renewed investment in their infrastructure under a bipartisan construction plan approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

The $45 billion construction package is the culmination of a three-month negotiation process during which lawmakers traveled throughout Illinois to hear input from local officials, educators, transportation experts and other interested parties.

“We spent months traveling this state and learned more than I thought possible about the infrastructure needs in various communities,” said State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), who co-chaired the committee charged with developing the construction plan. “The result is a comprehensive package that takes into account the testimony we heard and fairly invests in communities in every corner of the state.”

The construction plan is Illinois’ first in a decade. Since the last one in 2009, ratings groups have increasingly been raising red flags about the state of Illinois’ infrastructure, including AAA, who recently gave Illinois’ transportation infrastructure a D grade.

The new construction program not only provides new initial funding to fix Illinois’ roads and bridges, it also creates a new sustainable funding model that will prevent Illinois’ transportation system from falling to this level of disrepair in the future.

“For far too long we have let our state's transportation and infrastructure system fall by the wayside,” State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Skokie) said. “By passing this capital plan we’ve begun to address the serious need for investment.”

“Over the course of the past few months I was fortunate to travel the state with my colleagues listening to different constituencies and what their infrastructure needs would look like,” Villivalam said. “The message was resounding: our roads and bridges are crumbling, our trains need upgrading, and buildings across the state need repair. I am proud of the work we've done to address these challenges, cementing Illinois as a transportation hub and ensuring our roads are safe for residents.”

The state’s hospitals, schools and college campuses are also in severe need of investment. The Capital Development Board estimates the costs of critical repairs that have been delayed at $7.8 billion for state facilities, $6.7 billion for public universities and $9.4 billion for schools.

“Illinois needs cranes on campuses and bulldozers at building sites. Construction projects signal that Illinois is open for business,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who served as the other co-chair on the committee. “Highway and bridge repairs are vitally important, but any statewide infrastructure plan has to balance those priorities with our need for new schools, modern hospitals and 21st century college facilities. There has to be a healthy mix.

Along with improving Illinois’ infrastructure, the program is expected to be a major economic booster for the state. The plan includes the creation of the Illinois Works Task Force, which will help recruit and train people to work on the newly funded projects. In total, the program is expected to bring around 500,000 new jobs to the state.

“Illinois’ capital initiative shows that we are steadfast in our commitment to creating good-paying jobs that, in turn, improve each community’s conditions,” said State Senator Rachelle Crowe, a member of the committee. “This bipartisan effort puts people back to work while making meaningful investments in every community in the state.”