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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.

READ MORE: Vicky Arroyo is the new Chief Operating Officer of Resurrection Project

“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.”


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.


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.


Pritzker aislado luego que un miembro de su equipo diera positivo de Covid

El gobernador J.B. Pritzker  se aislará del resto de su equipo por  14 días después de que uno de sus empleados cercanos diera positivo de COVID-19.

El gobierno planea continuar con todas las operaciones de su oficina, informó la administración.

El miembro del personal dio positivo el lunes después de informar síntomas. El empleado había asistido a eventos con el gobernador el miércoles en Chicago, el jueves en Marion y el domingo en Marsella.

Pritzker y otros que tuvieron contacto con el empleado se aislarán por sí mismos durante 14 días, según un comunicado de prensa.

Se está realizando un esfuerzo de rastreo de contactos y se informó a los organizadores de cada evento sobre el resultado positivo, según el comunicado.

Illinois: Application for $220 Million in Business Interruption Grants is opened

    Chicago- HINA- Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) this week announced the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois facing the impacts of COVID-19.
 A second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, opened this week, will direct $220 million to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) and heavily distressed industries and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or are operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.
The second round of BIG builds on $49 million in grants awarded last month. Initial grant funding extends to over 2,800 businesses in 400 cities and towns across Illinois, including over half of grants awarded to minority-owned companies.
The latest funding will continue to place an emphasis on equity – with priority for economically distressed communities, as well as downstate and rural businesses.
In the coming weeks, DCEO will be hosting webinars and conducting outreach to support businesses with applying. Additionally, four community navigators will provide boots on the ground to assist DCEO in conducting outreach to minority communities – these partners include The Chicago Urban League, The Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, the Illinois Business Immigrant Coalition, and The Resurrection Project.

Illinois businesses hit by looting could get help through $25 million state grant program

 Illinois businesses that suffered a financial loss from recent public protests and looting could get a break from the state.State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, has filed legislation to allow for a property tax credit in the same amount as whatever financial hit was taken.“While it won’t cover everything, I think, at a minimum, these businesses that have already suffered under COVID, they ought to be compensated, or at least be given a small tax credit to make up for at least a portion of their losses,” Syverson said.He says many businesses suffered losses that will be higher than the tax bill, which would mean a full waiver of the year’s property taxes.Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Pritzker $25 million from the state’s capital program would go to help businesses that sustained property damage due to looting during recent protests. Syverson said more is needed.“The ones that won’t help are the stores couldn’t open up due to protests, those that law enforcement [advised] to close because of what might happen, or those businesses that had to hire private security because the city would not guarantee any protection,” Syverson said.

He said it’s most critical to providing assistance in communities where local authorities either chose not to enforce the law or could not provide adequate protection.

“The first job of any municipality is to provide protection for individuals, their families, and their property,” Syverson said. “If they’re going to allow crimes to occur, then they should at least reimburse those who were victims of the municipality’s unwillingness to fulfill and follow the law.”

Syverson represents portions of Rockford, which was hit hard by damage done from looting and vandalism surround the George Floyd protests.

“So much of the property they destroyed was a property that was owned by minorities or property where the majority of employees were minorities,” Syverson said. “They’ve now lost their jobs because of this.*(The Center Square) –

Pritzker announces $900 million community, business grant programs

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday announced a $900 million package of state grant programs to support communities and small businesses impacted by the pandemic and civil unrest.

The package includes emergency rental and mortgage programs totaling $300 million for Illinoisans who are having trouble making payments.

“Nearly 1 in 3 Illinois adults have either missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment or are worried about their ability to pay next month’s rent or mortgage payment on time,” Pritzker said.

The governor is also extending the residential eviction ban through July 31.

The package also includes a distressed capital program. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will provide $25 million to support Illinois businesses that sustained property damage as a result of looting or rioting after May 25. The program will reimburse the costs of repair for structural damages, including repairs to storefronts, and improving electrical systems.

The program will prioritize small businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, and businesses that have a high community impact, such as grocery stores.

The Department of Human Services will provide $32.5 million in an effort to mitigate poverty in the state and respond to the needs of hard-hit communities by COVID-19 and civil unrest. (The Center Square)

Pritzker defends new misdemeanor rules for businesses that open early

Chicago.- Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced a new way to go after Illinois businesses that open early in defiance of his emergency order to remain closed.

The governor filed an emergency rule which potentially could charge businesses with Class A misdemeanors if they open for business before they are allowed under his five-phase reopening plan. Under state law, the violation is punishable by a fine from $75 to up to $2,500 and would require a court appearance.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Pritzker said the violation would not be used to punish individuals.

“This rule can only impact business and not individuals and is a response to only a select type of violation,” he said. “This can’t be used to regulate individual conduct like not wearing a face covering.”

Previously, the governor indicated that businesses violating the stay-at-home order could face liability issues with insurance companies. He also said his administration would consider revoking state licenses from businesses that opened early, and could also withhold federal funds from counties that did the same.

Pritzker also addressed the data breach on the Illinois Department of Employment Security website over the weekend.

On Sunday, the department confirmed that one claimant was able to access the personal information of a number of other claimants. Pritzker said they are looking into it.

“We are still investigating the number of people who were affected by it,” Pritzker said. “We want to make sure that we get the system completely kind of hack-proof and safe.”

The governor also said he doesn’t know if he is personally profiting from any of the companies owned by the Pritzker Group that offer COVID-19 testing.

“Three years ago when I decided to run for governor, I put all assets in a blind trust form and they continue to be in that form and so I’m not involved, I don’t even know the engagement of those businesses in anything that has to do with this,” Pritzker said. “I’m three years from having had any knowledge about any of those.”

Also on Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,294 new cases COVID-19 in Illinois, including 59 additional deaths.

Statewide, the department has reported a total of 96,485 cases, including 4,234 deaths. Cases have been reported in 100 of the state’s 102 counties.

In the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 21,297 specimens for a total of 603,241 tests. The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate – from May 9-15 – was 14%, the department said. (The Center Square)

Pedro Cevallos-Candau and more Latinos on the Move in Illinois

Gov. Pritzker Announces the appointment of Pedro Cevallos-Candau, past district governor, to on the Board of Trustees of Governors State University. Pritzker also appointed Veronica Gloria and Veronica Herrero to Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Pedro Cevallos will serve on the Board of Trustees of Governors State University.* Cevallos is the president of PECECA Business Consultants,  a management consulting firm which he started in March 2016. He spent 28 years prior as the founding president and CEO of Primera Engineers, where he worked on over 400 engineering projects. During his tenure at Primera, the company grew from a startup to a nationally-ranked firm, as demonstrated by the 380 position in the prestigious ENR 500 list of largest engineering companies in the USA. He also served as a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Cevallos has served as President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, District Governor for Rotary International, District 6450 and Past-President of the Rotary Club of Chicago and chairman of the board of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico.

Veronica Gloria will serve on the Illinois Board of Higher Education.* Gloria serves as Executive Director of Centro Español, a non-profit social service agency that provides bilingual social and educational services in Will County. Despite being heavily impacted by Illinois state budget impasse, Gloria restructured the non-profit’s programs for financial stability, bringing on a new board of directors, fundraising, applying for new grants, improving policies and procedures, and emphasizing quality customer service and professional development. Before joining Centro Español, she coordinated an internship program for low-income and first-generation college students at the University of Chicago and conducted mental health research for low-income students at the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. Recently, Gloria joined the Greater Joliet YMCA Metropolitan Board. She received her bachelor’s degree in social studies and a minor in ethnicity, migration and rights from Harvard University.

 Veronica Herrero will serve on the Illinois Board of Higher Education. * Herrero currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at the City Colleges of Chicago, supporting the chancellor and partners with the presidents of the seven City Colleges of Chicago. Previously, she was Chief Program Officer of One Million Degrees, a non-profit organization partnering with community colleges in the Chicagoland area committed to empowering community college students to succeed in school, work and life. Herrero brings over thirteen years of cross-sector leadership experience in strategy, design, student success and education management through her previous roles at OMD, the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute and Chicago Public Schools. Herrero serves on the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees and Girls, Inc. of Chicago Board of Directors. Herrero received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  


Prohibición federal limita el mercado de la marihuana

Aun cuando la legalización de la marihuana avanza en Estados Unidos, y aproximadamente el 25% de su población vive en una entidad donde su consumo recreativo es legal, sus mercados se mantienen limitados debido a que a nivel federal sigue siendo prohibida.
Desde las elecciones intermedias del pasado 6 de noviembre son ya diez los estados donde está autorizado el consumo recreativo de la marihuana, permiso que beneficia a casi 80 millones de habitantes, mientras que en 32 de los 50 estados de la unión americana se permite su uso medicinal.
En las pasadas votaciones Michigan se convirtió en el décimo estado de la unión americana, y el primero en el Medio Oeste del país, en legalizar la marihuana recreativa, sumándose a Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, y Washington D.C. En el mismo proceso se aprobó su uso medicinal en los estados de Missouri y Utah.
De acuerdo con un informe de Arcview Market Research (el mayor grupo de inversionistas de cannabis con sede en California) se estima que en este año las ventas por marihuana en el país alcanzarán los $11 mil millones de dólares, y dentro de cuatro años rebasarán el doble de esa cifra.
Sin embargo, a pesar de la creciente apertura a través de los estados, la marihuana sigue siendo una droga ilegal ante el gobierno federal, por lo que su prohibición nacional mantiene aún alejados a los inversionistas, muchos de los cuales empezaron a incursionar en Canadá aprovechando su legalización en ese país el mes pasado.
Ante esta incertidumbre, empresas de Illinois, donde solo se permite su uso medicinal, ya empezaron a invertir en Canadá, como la compañía de bebidas alcohólicas Constellation Brands, con negocio de cerveza en Chicago, que invirtió en la canadiense Canopy Growth; Green Industries (GTI), la primera compañía de marihuana medicinal de Chicago que ingresó a la Bolsa de Valores de Canadá en junio; y Cresco, con sede en River North, que celebró el mes pasado un acuerdo con la canadiense Randsburg International Gold Corp, entre otras.
Illinois fue uno de los primeros estados en implementar un programa de cannabis medicinal con normas estrictas con las que lidiaron las empresas, por ejemplo, los pacientes debían cumplir estrictamente con una de las casi 40 condiciones para calificar. Las restricciones significaron también dificultades para encontrar bancos y compañías de seguros que trabajaran con un negocio de sus características.
La cantidad de pacientes que compran el medicamento en Illinois sigue siendo muy baja para algunos operadores, lo que se debe no a la ausencia de pacientes, sino a las restricciones impuestas por la ley estatal al crecimiento del programa.
Con J. B. Pritzker en el gobierno de Illinois se espera una legalización y despenalización de la marihuana como lo prometió en campaña, lo que podría ocurrir el próximo año, sumando al estado a las entidades que permiten la marihuana con fines recreativos.

J.B. Pritzker noquea a Rauner en predecibles elecciones de Illinois

CHICAGO- El demócrata J.B. Pritzker ganó las elecciones del gobernador de Illinois el martes 6 por la noche al vender inobjetablemente al gobernador Bruce Rauner

Pritzker y su compañero de fórmula, la vice gobernadora electa Juliana Stratton, se dirigieron a los partidarios en el Marquis Marriott en South Loop.

Debido a que la carrera fue convocada tan temprano en la noche, la fiesta comenzó temprano, ya que la multitud alrededor de 2,000, según las estimaciones de la campaña, bailaron y disfrutaron de un bar abierto.

Pritzker habló durante unos 16 minutos y agradeció a Rauner por su servicio al estado. Su discurso tocó la historia de Illinois, la llamó “la tierra de Abraham Lincoln y Barack Obama”, así como sus objetivos como gobernador. (Este artículo será ampliado)