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March 5, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich taps former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and SIU Pres. Glenn Poshard to lead coalition aimed at passing capital plan in Illinois
"Illinois Works Coalition" to focus on urging legislators to pass statewide infrastructure plan, providing statewide infrastructure and job-creation

CHICAGO -- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named two of the state’s most influential leaders, former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert and Southern Illinois University (SIU) President and former U.S. Congressman Glenn Poshard, as co-chairs of the newly created Illinois Works Coalition.  The new bipartisan working group will draw expertise from business, labor and local leaders across the state and will focus on helping pass a statewide infrastructure plan in Illinois.  Last month in his annual budget address, Gov. Blagojevich proposed Illinois Works, a $25 billion capital plan, as the central piece of a statewide stimulus package aimed at boosting Illinois’ economy in the face of a slowing national economy.
“We are at a critical time in Illinois.  We have an economy that is mirroring the slowdown we see across the country.  We have bridges that desperately need to be fixed, roads and schools that need to be repaired, and men and women eager to work.  We can address all of these challenges by finally passing a statewide public works program.  I am pleased to have two strong and respected leaders ready to direct this venture.  These men hail from both the north and south of our state and represent the best of both political parties.  They’ll be working with an impressive team of leaders from across Illinois who can reach across the aisle and bring legislators together,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Over the next three months, Speaker Hastert and President Poshard will lead our efforts to pass a comprehensive capital plan in the state of Illinois.”
“It's time we help Illinois communities that have been waiting nine years for critical capital investments," said Co-Chair Hastert.  “The Governor has pulled together a bipartisan coalition with the common goal of getting the job done. I am satisfied that we have the flexibility to address the many needs of our schools and communities in a capital bill. I'm honored to be named to this position and I will work tirelessly to get this plan passed.”
“This is a significant time in our state’s history.  This is not an issue of politics but rather an issue of people.  We need to capitalize on this chance to reinforce our state’s education and transportation infrastructure.  Illinois Works will put more than 700,000 people to work and provide new and repaired schools for our children,” said Co-Chair Poshard.  “Simply put, we need this plan in Illinois with no further delay.  I thank the governor for allowing me the opportunity to get this done.”
In addition to naming the co-chairs, the Governor today announced the other members of the Illinois Works Coalition:
  • Michael Carrigan – President of the Illinois AFL-CIO
  • Jerry Roper - President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Tom Villanova – President of the Chicago  & Cook County Building Trades Council
  • Edward Smith - Midwest Regional Manager of the Laborer's International Union of North America
  • Tod Faerber – President of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association
  • Bob Schillerstrom – Chairman of the DuPage County Board
  • Larry Ivory – Chairman and CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Omar Duque – President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Florence Cox – Executive Director of the Black Contractors United
  • Tim Davlin – Mayor of the City of Springfield
  • Kim Robinson - Executive Director of the Illinois Construction Industry Committee
  • Allan Reyhan Jr. - President of the Associated General Contractors of Illinois
  • Karen McConnaughay - Chairwoman of the Kane County Board
  • Clayton Harris III – Executive Director of the Illinois Works Coalition and Chief of Staff of the Illinois Department of Transportation
Last month, the governor introduced his Strengthen Illinois stimulus plan, including Illinois Works – a $25 billion capital plan that will support more than 700,000 jobs and fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges, build and repair schools across the state, and provide resources for statewide economic development.
The Governor’s Illinois Works plan includes:
  • $2.7 billion for public transit
  • $1.1 billion for higher education
  • $1.1 billion for environment, energy and technology
  • $1.0 billion for economic development, including housing
  • $600 million for improved and expanded state facilities
  • $500 million for airports and rail
The governor proposes that Illinois Works would be funded primarily through partial concession of the Lottery. While most capital programs are funded by issuance of debt, Illinois Works would fund nearly 65 percent of its projects on a pay-as-you-go basis so that only 35 percent of the program is funded through bonds. This approach will help the state keep its bonded debt at low levels.  In fiscal year 07 and fiscal year 08, Illinois reduced bonded debt by $1 billion, the first time since 1997 that outstanding debt has been reduced for two consecutive years.
For more information on the Illinois Works Coalition,


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