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Pritzker announces six-year $20.7 billion construction plan

Construction plan

Chicago.- (HINA Wire) – Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and labor, legislative and local leaders today to announce the release of a $20.7 billion multi-year plan to improve Illinois’ roads and bridges over the next six years.

This robust commitment, fueled by the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, will reinforce Illinois’ leadership as a transportation hub and create thousands of jobs as the state seeks to spur economic growth following the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest multi-year plan builds on significant infrastructure investment over the past two years, with over 2,700 miles of state and local roadways and 290 bridges already improved through Rebuild Illinois.

With more than 4.9 million Illinoisans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 64% of residents age 18 and over receiving at least their first dose, the Governor also announced the return of full Amtrak service in Illinois beginning July 19th. In accordance with CDC guidance, face masks are still required on public transit, including trains, to prevent community spread.

“With all that’s been built over the last two years, even through a global pandemic, today we are announcing the new Multi-Year Plan for the next six years that will reconstruct over 2,700 more miles of roads and nearly 8 million square feet of bridges. And of course, the projects in this MYP will continue to create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans across our state – bolstering our pandemic recovery in yet one more way,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

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“Rebuild Illinois is about investing for the future – supporting this generation and the next, making sure we have good jobs and the roads to get there, and building a state where opportunity is just around the corner for everyone, no matter where you’re standing.”

HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

Based on current funding levels, the FY2022-27 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve 2,779 miles of roads and 7.9 million square feet of bridge deck. Of the $20.7 billion over the six years of the program, $3.32 billion has been identified for the upcoming fiscal year.

Included in the program are a multitude of projects that will create economic opportunity, enhance quality of life, and improve safety on both the IDOT and local transportation systems.

Project selection was based on objective criteria, such as pavement conditions, traffic volumes and crash history. Of the major elements in the plan for IDOT roads and bridges, investments include: $5.79 billion for highway reconstruction and preservation, $4.82 billion for bridge improvements, $2.59 billion for strategic expansion, $1.43 billion for system support such as engineering and land acquisition, and $1.21 billion for safety and system modernizations.

“Under the governor’s leadership, we are continuing to build and sustain infrastructure that gives Illinois its competitive edge and strengthens our status as the transportation hub of North America,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “This latest multiyear program means we will keep making historic improvements in our transportation system, just as we have throughout the pandemic. As people start to explore and travel Illinois again, we want passenger rail to be a viable option as well.”

The program will create and support hundreds of thousands of earning opportunities over the next six years for Illinois residents in communities across the state. As the state and national economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, these jobs will be a critical source for families working to get back on their feet.

“This plan will put us on a path to providing equitable, data-driven solutions for underserved communities across the state. As Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am excited to see these projects implemented and to see much-needed investment in our communities,” said Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago).

“The Rebuild Illinois program is the largest infrastructure investment in Illinois’ history, and continues to have a transformational impact on central Illinois,” said Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “This financial commitment is not just about streets and highways or roads and bridges. It is invigorating communities, spurring economic development, and putting people to work.”

“Illinois is the transportation hub of the Midwest, and I am pleased to see that maintaining and improving our roads and bridges remains a priority through this new multi-year plan,” said Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles), who serves as the Minority Spokesperson of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Especially as we begin to move out of the pandemic, a reliable transportation grid is essential to restoring economic vitality to businesses that have endured immense difficulty over the last 14 months.”

“As Illinois residents begin to travel throughout the state once again regularly for both work and leisure following the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring our infrastructure provides safe, efficient means to do so is a top priority of mine. The Multi-Year Plan does just that,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D – Grayslake). “Furthermore, the projects outlined in the plan will provide thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans who have longed for a return to work. I was proud to support the Rebuild Illinois Program, and look forward to seeing it carried out right here in Lake County and across the state.”

“Illinois needs reliable infrastructure capable of move people and goods safely across the state. Alleviating congestion, resurfacing roads, and rehabilitating bridges are key activities to keep economic activity and prosperity flowing across Illinois. I commend Governor Pritzker for leading the way in keeping Illinois competitive while we create good-paying jobs,” said Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago).

Passed in 2019, Gov. Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois plan, the first of its kind in nearly a decade, promotes economic growth by investing a total of $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

RESUMING AMTRAK SERVICE

With the number of positive COVID-19 cases continuing to decrease and the demand for public transportation expanding, Amtrak will resume full passenger rail service, providing another efficient transportation option to connect residents across the state.

A full long-distance interstate schedule will restore four state-sponsored lines. The Chicago-Milwaukee partnership with Wisconsin will resume next week. The three state sponsored routes connecting Chicago and Quincy, Chicago and Carbondale, and Chicago and St. Louis, will run at full capacity by mid-July. Passengers can reserve tickets for travel starting the week of July 19th on Amtrak.com beginning this week.

Amtrak previously announced a return to normal operations for the Hiawatha Service on May 23rd, a partnership of Illinois and Wisconsin departments of transportation that runs between Chicago and Milwaukee with a stop in Glenview.

“As Amtrak begins our 50th year of service nationally, we look forward to growing our ridership back to normal levels and celebrating this fall when our Illinois DOT partnership celebrates its 50th anniversary on Nov. 4,” said Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang, responsible for Amtrak’s state-supported services.

The increased capacity builds upon the administration’s robust efforts to safely connect communities and help lift local economies. Under Rebuild Illinois, a total of $1.1 billion is allocated for rail improvements alone. The critical investments include $78 million in new funds to upgrade rail crossings and improve safety, which will create and support opportunities for hardworking Illinoisans.

 

Gov. Pritzker, IDOT Announce Rebuild Illinois Road and Bridge Projects

New Multi-Year Plan Lays Out $23.5 Billion in Maintenance, Preservation and Expansion Projects Across the State  

Springfield, Ill. — (HINA) Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation released the department’s annual Multi-Year Plan of road and bridge projects across the state, which is the first to capture the historic impact of the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

Using rigorous and objective criteria, IDOT evaluated the condition, frequency of use, and crash and fatalities across the state’s transportation system in planning the historic improvements. Over the next six years, $23.5 billion will be invested in maintaining, preserving and expanding 4,212 miles of roadway and 9.2 million square feet of bridge deck statewide.

A full list of road and bridge projects coming across the state can be found here.

“All together, these road and bridge projects will create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years for hardworking Illinoisans in every part of our state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois has some of the most important roads in America – let’s make them outlast and outperform those across the nation.”

“In my nearly 30 years at this agency, today might be the most important day in our history,” said Omer Osman, Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “This Multi-Year Plan gets us on the path to fixing our roads and bridges, putting policies into action that ensure our transportation system in Illinois is reliable, safe and provides economic opportunity for generations to come. It is the blueprint for how we Rebuild Illinois.”

This new Multi-Year Plan represents a shift in Illinois’ approach to its roadways and bridges. Previously, the state waited to rebuild until projects had deteriorated so much that they presented safety hazards; under guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, Illinois will now prioritize maintaining its system over time, which is also a more cost-effective way to manage long-term capital needs. To achieve that, this plan dedicates more than 75% of the funds to reconstructing and preserving roadways and bridges, 16% to strategically expanding the system in areas where data have shown the investment will be highly effective and the remainder for necessary traffic and safety improvements.

Of the major categories of state investments in the plan, $7.58 billion will go toward roadway reconstruction and preservation, $4.99 billion for bridge replacements and repairs, $1.59 billion for safety and system modernizations like interchange reconstructions, $3.08 billion for strategic expansion of the system and $2.11 billion for system support like engineering and land acquisition.

The additional state investment in Rebuild Illinois has also allowed the department to maximize federal dollars, bringing in tens of millions annually that would have otherwise been left on the table each year.

The FY20-25 Multi-Year Plan serves as a baseline plan in the Rebuild Illinois capital program. Updated plans, based on revenue and evaluation metrics, will be released each year and adjustments to projects will be made on an annual basis through the MYP.

¿Más Latinos en el Gobierno de Illinois?

En declaraciones a Negocios Now, luego de su triunfo electoral, J.B. Pritzker reafirmó su compromiso de contratar a más personas de color en su gobierno.

Redacción Negocios Now

Los Latinos se frotan las manos. A juzgar por las promesas de J.B. Pritzker, en el próximo Gobierno de Illinois se hablará un poco más español.

 Desde su inicios de campaña, el gobernador electo prometió que su administración sería el rostro de la diversidad que existe en un estado donde el 44 por ciento de su población está compuesta por afroamericanos, latinos y asiáticos.

“A lo largo de mi campaña, hice de la prioridad principal buscar la opinión de una coalición diversa de líderes en todo nuestro estado, incluida la comunidad latina”, dijo en una declaración a Negocios Now tras su arrollador triunfo electoral.

“Creo que la diversidad de Illinois es un activo para nuestro estado y, como gobernador, estoy comprometido a dirigir una administración que refleje esa diversidad. Enfatizaré la inclusión a medida que construyo un gabinete, hago citas y participo en colaboraciones de partes interesadas”, expuso el triunfador, cociente de enviar un mensaje a la pujante comunidad hispana, que ha esperado mucho tiempo por escuchar esas palabras de un gobernante.

El incremento de minorías en el gobierno, especialmente en puestos ejecutivos, ha sido un reclamo histórico de líderes comunitarios que ha visto mermar su presencia en los últimos cuatros años.

El concejal Gilbert Villegas (D-36), jefe del Caucus Latino del Concilio Municipal, dijo a NN que es un problema crítico que debe solucionarse en la administración demócrata.

“Una de las razones por las cuales me sumé a la campaña de J.B. fue justamente para ayudarlo en la integración de un gobierno multifacético que refleje la diversidad de razas que tenemos en Illinois. Es algo que me pidió personalmente y que agradezco, porque es algo por lo cual he luchado mucho”, afirmó para recoger el mensaje inclusivo prometido por el nuevo gobernante.

Durante su frenética y costosa campaña, Pritzker contó con el respaldo de un sinnúmero de líderes comunitarios, entre ellos empresarios y ejecutivos Latinos.

El resultado de la elección fue contundente: Pritzker logró el 54 por ciento de los votos, por el 39 por ciento de Bruce Rauner, en una jornada comicial en la que votó el 48 por ciento del electorado registrado en Illinois, un porcentaje que no se lograba desde 1998.

Mayoría hombres y blancos

Frente a los ataques de su rival, el republicano Rauner se jactó de comandar una fuerza laboral altamente diversa en su administración y trató de contrastar ese récord con la demanda por discriminación presentada por el personal de la campaña de JB Pritzker y negado por éste. Un total de 93 de los 200 que trabajaron en la campaña  del demócrata fueron personas de color, según portavoz de gobernador-electo.

De acuerdo con una investigación del periodista Dan Mihalopoulos para WBEZ, en los últimos años, los funcionarios nombrados por el gobernador Rauner para altos puestos ejecutivos han sido hombres blancos, en forma predominante.

El análisis de WBEZ de los propios informes estatales de empleo de Rauner revela que los negros, los hispanos y los asiáticos han sido más escasos en la administración saliente que en la población general de Illinois, uno de los estados con mayor diversidad racial en todo el país.

Según la Oficina del Censo de los EE. UU. partir del 1 de julio de 2017, la población de Illinois de 12 millones 802 mil 23, era 61.3 por ciento blanca, 17.3 hispana, 14.6 por ciento negra y 5.7 por ciento asiática.

La gran mayoría de los nombrados por Rauner para juntas estatales, comisiones y grupos de trabajo eran blancos, mientras que los hombres superan en número a las mujeres en esos paneles.

En los tres años que finalizaron el 30 de junio, Rauner realizó casi 1.200 citas de este tipo. Sus selecciones para esas publicaciones fueron 73 por ciento blancas, 10 por ciento negras, 6 por ciento hispanas y 3 por ciento asiáticas. No se dio ninguna carrera para el 7 por ciento de los candidatos de Rauner, detalla el estudio.

Las mujeres conformaron el 36 por ciento de los nombrados por Rauner para cargos en la junta estatal, comisión y grupo de trabajo en los últimos tres años.

En las 38 agencias estatales bajo el control de Rauner, 30 de jefes de departamento son blancos, cuatro negros, dos hispanos e igual número de asiáticos. Veintisiete son hombres, y 11 son mujeres.

Más minorías en los “Boards”

“Lo importante aquí es que para hacer una buena política que beneficie a todas las familias, los niños y aquellos que necesitan un gobierno estatal, realmente necesitas tener un gobierno que refleje a la gente”, dijo  a la WBEZ Sylvia Puente, directora ejecutiva del Foro de Políticas Latinas, una Grupo de defensa de Chicago.

“Nuestro gobierno actual a nivel estatal, a nivel de ciudad, a nivel de condado, no refleja la población del estado”, apuntó a una de las explicaciones del descontento de la comunidad.

Para Gilbert Villegas también es contrastante el escaso número de latinos en Mesas Directivas (Board) de las agencias del gobierno.

“Queremos asegurarnos de que las oportunidades estén abiertas para todos los habitantes de Illinois, sin importar su color y raza. Queremos ver más latinos, afroamericanos y asiáticos en los “Boards” y ayudaremos a JB en lo que podamos para asegurarnos de que así sea”, exclamó. La ilusión ha vuelto a flotar en el ambiente. nn/vf