Governor Pat Quinn today signed a law to begin the next phase of his historic Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, which will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system and support economic growth across Illinois. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider, local officials and labor representatives joined the governor as he signed House Bill 4568, authorizing the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to proceed with $1.6 billion worth of road, rail and transit projects across Illinois.
As part of Governor Quinn's commitment to building a 21st century transportation network in Illinois, this next phase in Illinois Jobs Now! will create or support an estimated 18,400 jobs. The governor also signed two additional bills to support transportation projects.
"Three years ago, we passed the largest capital construction program in Illinois history to put people to work repairing roads, bridges and transit systems across our state," Governor Quinn said. "From building new lanes on Route 13 in Southern Illinois, high speed rail from Chicago to St. Louis, to rebuilding Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois Jobs Now! is strengthening our economy and infrastructure every day. Today's law ensures that Illinois will continue moving forward."
Sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), HB 4568 authorizes the issuance of more than $1.6 billion in bonds to pay for $817.3 million in new highway projects, including $100 million of direct funding for cities, counties and townships to make local road improvements. Also included is $799.5 million in mass transit and rail improvements during the 2013 fiscal year, including 15 Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) projects and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red, Purple and Blue Line improvements.
Today's law will improve transit safety and efficiency by dedicating $211 million of the announced state funds to CREATE projects, leveraging $10.4 million in federal Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER IV) grants and a $136 million investment from freight railroads.
"CREATE is a first-of-its-kind partnership among the U.S. Department of Transportation and Illinois, Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and our nation's freight railroads," U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood said. "These investments will lead to faster service, more efficient operations and more capacity for future expansion. CREATE is a great reminder that when we invest in our transportation infrastructure, we can put Americans back to work today, and help our economy grow for years to come."
Governor Quinn also today announced $93.8 million to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to resurface almost 100 miles of major arterial streets throughout the city. These new funds bring the governor's total commitment to City of Chicago transportation improvements to $6.1 billion.
"We are proud of the achievements of Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan, which has greatly improved safety and quality of life for Illinois residents," said Secretary Schneider. "Funding critical transportation and rail projects will help improve the safety of the motoring public, improve access to public transit and alleviate travel delays."
"I commend Governor Quinn on Illinois Jobs Now! This important capital program is helping to fund essential infrastructure and transportation projects across the Chicago area, and is helping to create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs around the state," said Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez. "I am pleased that we can continue to support our workers with this next phase of the Illinois Jobs Now! program."
Included in the CREATE projects is the $36.2 million construction of an overpass at 25th Avenue through Melrose Park and Bellwood. This project will support approximately 325 jobs, improve safety, reduce roadway congestion, minimize delays, and improve access to the Metra commuter station throughout the corridor from St. Charles Avenue to Lake Street.
"I want to thank Governor Quinn and Senator Durbin for their continued efforts to support projects that greatly impact our community," Bellwood Mayor Frank A. Pasquale said. "I am delighted for our residents and business owners that funding has been approved to provide for a new bridge as a component of the rail grade separation project. The bridge will help make travel on 25th Avenue safer and faster, and make Bellwood an even more attractive place to live, work and play."
"We are grateful to Governor Quinn and Secretary LaHood for recognizing the importance of this vital project and for providing the state and federal funding that will enable it to move forward," Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico said. "It will provide a welcome measure of added safety for motorists and reinvigorate economic development in the 25th Avenue corridor."
First passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Quinn in 2009, the six-year, $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital program in state history. Of the $14 billion in the program dedicated for transportation needs, $10.7 billion has been spent on projects that have improved 6,426 miles of roadway and 961 bridges. The program so far has created or supported more than 140,000 jobs.
Governor Quinn also today signed House Bill 3875, sponsored by Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-Chatham) and Sen. Tony Munoz (D-Chicago), which extends the deadline date from July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2014 for when the Regional Transportation Authority may issue, sell and deliver specific additional Working Cash Notes.
In addition, the governor signed House Bill 4036, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines) and Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), which authorizes the Suburban Bus Board to borrow money for several bus garage expansion and conversion projects throughout the Chicago suburban area.
A complete list of Illinois Jobs Now! road, rail, and transit projects and the additional City of Chicago projects supported by the state is available at www.dot.state.il.us.