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April 16, 2008

SIU President Glenn Poshard holds a listening tour event in Metro East to support Gov. Blagojevich’s
Illinois Works capital program

EAST ST. LOUIS- Co-Chair of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Illinois Works Coalition and President of Southern Illinois University Glenn Poshard held a listening tour event tonight in the Metro East where he heard from area families, business owners and labor leaders about how a comprehensive capital bill will benefit their community.  Poshard led the discussion about Illinois Works, a $25 billion capital program proposed by Governor Blagojevich to build or rebuild critical infrastructure that would support 700,000 jobs and spur the economy in communities across the state. 

The Illinois Works Coalition, a newly formed bipartisan working group chaired by President Poshard and Former Speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert, are hosting informal discussions around the state to draw expertise from business, labor and community leaders in an effort to pass a statewide infrastructure plan in Illinois. 

“This is a critical time in our economy, and the Governor’s Illinois Works program would allow us to reinvest in our state’s infrastructure,” said Poshard.  “This means better roads, schools, and jobs for thousands of Illinois residents.” 

Metro East residents and elected officials joined Illinois Works Coalition leaders for the discussion about how Governor Blagojevich's capital program will bolster the Southwestern Illinois economy. Illinois Works projects benefiting the Metro East area include:

  • $40 million for new construction and bridge replacement on Illinois 162 over Interstate 55
  • $15 million interchange construction on Interstate 270 at Illinois 111
  • $27 million for construction of additional lanes on Illinois 3 in Waterloo
  • $56 million for construction of additional lanes and resurfacing of Illinois 159 in Collinsville.
  • An additional $178 million for the relocated Interstate 70 new Mississippi River Bridge.
  • $1 million for capital improvements at SIU-Edwardsville
  • $75 million for a Science Laboratory at SIU-Edwardsville
  • $625 million has been allocated for the Collinsville Civic Center
  • Significant resources for state facilities, such as:

·       Southwestern Correctional Center

        1       Collinsville Regional Office Building
        2       Illinois Youth Center at Pere Marquette
        3       Alton Mental Health Center
        4       Metro-East Forensic Lab at Belleville
        5       Menard Correctional Center
        6       Vandalia Correctional Center

In addition to supporting more than 700,000 jobs statewide, Illinois Works will address the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges, build and repair schools across the state, and provide resources for statewide economic development. The Illinois Works plan includes:  

    • $14.4 billion for road and bridge programs 
    • $3.8 billion for school construction 
    • $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 

This evening’s event in the Metro East was the third in a series of events conducted by the Illinois Works Coalition that will occur in various communities in March and April.  After the listening tour, the Coalition will share its findings with lawmakers in Springfield in order to help pass a capital bill this legislative session.



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