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May 28, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich, President Poshard, Sen. Pres. Jones, Minority Leaders Sen. Watson and Rep. Cross call for passage of $31 billion Illinois Works capital plan
Illinois Works invests in roads, bridges schools, creates more than 500,000 jobs

SPRINGFIELD Standing with Illinois Works Coalition Co-Chair Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones, Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross today endorsed the new $31 billion comprehensive capital infrastructure plan recommended by the Illinois Works Coalition. Last week, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert and Poshard announced their recommendations for a capital infrastructure plan and revenue streams to pay for it after a comprehensive statewide listening tour launched in March and a series of meetings with Governor Blagojevich and legislative leaders.   The Governor and the three legislative leaders called for passage of the plan prior to the scheduled legislative adjournment date later this week. 
“After nine long years without a capital infrastructure plan, Illinois simply cannot wait a minute longer.  The time is now to put people to work.  The time is now to build and rebuild our roads, bridges and schools. If we don’t take this opportunity now, we risk losing millions of federal dollars and our infrastructure needs only grow,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “I thank Speaker Hastert and President Poshard for their recommendations.  I embrace them wholeheartedly.  And, I stand here today with Senate President Jones and Leaders Watson and Cross to call for passage of this plan before legislators leave for the summer.”
Illinois has the opportunity to take a giant step forward in terms of economic development, infrastructure and investment in the future of our state,” said Senate President Emil Jones, Jr.   “The passage of a capital bill will allow us to repair and build schools, infrastructure and our economy.”
 “Senate Republicans have been a clear and consistent voice for a responsible capital program. There are so many needs across the state – roads, bridges, schools, universities, airports – the list goes on and on.
The infrastructure needs of this state must be addressed. We have the opportunity to address those needs, capture federal money that’s available and create jobs that are sorely needed in Illinois,” said Sen. Watson.
“Because of the great needs for roads, bridges, mass transit and school construction in this state, I support the Hastert/Poshard infrastructure plan.  For us to not give full consideration to this well thought-out plan put together by these two respected individuals would be an enormous mistake,” said Rep. Cross.      
“I am absolutely convinced that this state cannot wait a single day longer for a capital construction bill,” said President Poshard.  “We need to put people to work, we need to secure our position as this nation’s transportation hub and we need to access the federal transportation funds secured in a bipartisan effort by Former Speaker Hastert and our congressional delegation.”
“Labor has aggressively worked to pass a capital bill for several years. We desperately need a ‘jobs bill’ that will get our members back to work. It’s been nine years since Illinois passed a capital bill that would fund infrastructure repair and construction across our state. We are woefully behind and our roads, bridges, rails, airports and schools show it. We commend the Governor and the Illinois Works Coalition especially Glen Poshard and Dennis Hastert for their leadership. Now we need to move forward and pass the Hastert-Poshard plan,” said President of the Illinois AFL-CIO Michael Carrigan.
Joining Governor Blagojevich and the legislative leaders today in support of Illinois Works; President of the Illinois AFL-CIO Michael Carrigan,  Executive Director of the Black Contractors United Florence Cox, Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, President of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tod Faerber, President and CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Larry Ivory, Naperville Mayor George Pradel, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association Director Paul Cerpa, Midwest Regional Manager of the Laborer's International Union of North America John Penn and President of the Associated General Contractors of Illinois Allan Reyhan Jr. On Tuesday, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce announced its support for a capital infrastructure plan and the corresponding revenue streams.
The Illinois Works capital plan includes the following:
  • Provide a capital improvement plan clearly identifying timelines, priorities and funding sources for projects within each of these investment categories.
  • Fund education construction projects and mass transportation investments with $7 billion partial lottery concession.
  • Create Capital and Educational Trust Funds with “lockbox” accountability guarantees for capital investments and continuation of the current level of lottery proceeds for P-12 education.
  • Use motor fuel taxes to support bonded road projects that allow nearly $2 billion in additional projects
  • Expand gaming (Chicago Casino, one additional riverboat license, increases in positions at existing riverboats, and availability of electronic gaming at racetracks) to raise $550 million annually in new revenues for debt service for environmental and water, energy, economic  development, health care, state facilities, and other critical purposes.
According to a study the study by Southern Illinois University, a comprehensive capital plan would have tremendous economic benefits for the state.  The study found a capital plan would create 535,000 new full-time jobs, lead to $49 billion in economic activity and more than $2.9 billion in state and local tax revenues.


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