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Friday, 11 April 2014 12:22cat

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Unveils $8.6 Billion Infrastructure Improvement Plan

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The $8.6 billion improvement program will fix many of the states highways The $8.6 billion improvement program will fix many of the states highways wasteddiskspace

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn unveiled his six-year, $8.6 billion infrastructure plan to improve roads and bridges throughout the state on Wednesday.  The six-year program allocates $5.82 billion for state highway improvements and $2.77 billion for local transportation. The Governor believes that his plan will “create jobs and build a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.”

During the 2015-2020 fiscal years, 1,845 miles of highway will be created or fixed, and 384 bridges will be replaced or rehabilitated. This includes building a $308.6 million new I-74/US 6 bridge crossing the Mississippi River in Moline. In addition to improving Illinois' highway infrastructure, the program will also help to expand the state’s passenger rail service. $60 million will be spent 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. Metra, the Chicago commuter rail division of the RTA, will spend $585 million to purchase 160 electric Highliner Commuter Cars. Also, the new program will provide some funding for land acquisition for the South Side Airport that the state hopes to receive approval for from the FAA.

The federal government will contribute $6.99 billion to the program, and the state will contribute $1.16 billion. The rest of the program will be funded by local sources and Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. The $31 billion Jobs Now! capital construction program was created in 2009 and is the largest construction program in Illinois history. The program was paid for by revenue from video poker and tax increases. Projects beginning after July 1 of this year are encouraged to hire graduates of the Highway Construction Careers Training Program. IDOT is offering contractors a reimbursement rate of $15 an hour for hiring graduates of the program, an IDOT-sponsored initiative to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in the transportation construction industry.

"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."

Sources: Crain'sRailwayAge

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