Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that clears the way for daily flights from the Quad Cities to Washington, DC. Today's action will enhance transportation and economic development opportunities in the Quad Cities area and is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to drive Illinois' economy forward.
"Getting a daily flight from the Quad Cities to Washington, DC has been a priority I have shared with area leaders for several years," Governor Quinn said. "These flights will help established businesses in the region as well as those who are considering a move to the Quad Cities. This new law serves as a jobs-producing investment in the northwestern Illinois economy."
Senate Bill 220, also known as the Budget Implementation Act, expands air carrier recruitment grants to provide the seed money that will make the flights possible. The legislation increases from two to three years the Illinois Department of Transportation's I-FLY air carrier recruitment and retention grants and increases the yearly grant amount from $1 million to $1.5 million. These increased subsidies were necessary to attract air carriers to airports like Quad City International and commit to providing daily passenger service, in this case to Washington, DC. The legislation is effective immediately.
House Bill 6097, one of the additional budget bills awaiting Governor Quinn's signature, includes an appropriation of $1.5 million for a grant to the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County for the first year of the three-year grant program. The Governor will take action on this bill before July 1.
"It's a great day when we can all work together to ensure that Illinois jobs remain open and available," State Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) said. "Under the new law, residents in my district no longer have to worry that the Arsenal might be shut down and how they may put the next meal on the table."
"When I heard that the Rock Island Arsenal needed a direct flight to DC, I knew we had to act," State Representative Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) said. "We were able to put aside party and regional differences and create a bipartisan solution. I'm proud to say that this legislation will help us keep the thousands of families that rely on the Rock island Arsenal employed."
"I thank Governor Quinn for signing this legislation that provides the Quad Cities area with a great tool to help retain one of our largest employers," State Representative Patrick Verschoore (D-Milan) said. "Having a daily flight between the Quad Cities and Washington, DC ensures future support for the Rock Island Arsenal the next time federal BRAC realignment decisions are made."
Senate Bill 220 also makes the necessary changes to numerous state programs to implement the Governor's Fiscal Year 2015 budget. Among other things, it increases the personal care allowance for people at long-term care facilities and in Community Integrated Living Arrangements.