Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 29, 2008


Contact:

Brian Williamsen  (IDOT)  217-558-0517
Mike Claffey        (IDOT) 312-814-3957
Marisa Kollias      (IDOT) 312-814-4693

IDOT Secretary Pushes for Illinois Works Capital Plan Before Women Transportation Leaders’ Group

WTS’s Chicago chapter supports infrastructure investment in order to strengthen the state’s transportation system and the economy

CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Milton R. Sees today appeared before a group of transportation industry leaders in Chicago to push for support of the Blagojevich Administration’s $25 billion Illinois Works capital investment plan.

As part of his Fiscal Year 2009 budget, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has proposed Illinois Works – a $25 billion capital plan that will support more than 700,000 jobs, fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges, build and repair schools across the state, and provide resources for statewide economic development.

“It’s been nine years since Illinois has passed a new capital investment plan to address the state’s infrastructure needs,” Secretary Sees said, speaking at an annual scholarship event of the Greater Chicago Chapter of WTS, an international organization of professionals dedicated to the advancement of women in the transportation field. “The Governor has proposed a commonsense solution that builds on Illinois’ status as one of the main transportation hubs for the nation. To keep our economy strong, we must invest in the transportation system that provides the foundation for our success.”

“IDOT takes great pride in our state’s transportation network,” said Christine M. Reed, IDOT’s Director of Highways and Chief Engineer, who was the keynote speaker at the WTS event. “But without additional investment in our infrastructure, many communities will face delays when it comes to making badly needed repairs to our bridges and roads.”

Maggie Walsh, president of WTS’ Greater Chicago Chapter, said her organization recognizes the need for investing in the state’s infrastructure.

“As an organization that is dedicated to excellence in transportation and recognizes the vital role that our transportation system plays in maintaining the health of our economy, we agree that it is important for Illinois to invest in its infrastructure,” said Walsh. “Whether we are talking about roads, mass transit, railroads or airports, Illinois needs to invest in its future in order to maintain our position as a national transportation hub.”

Illinois Works includes funding for a critically needed capital construction plan that will repair bridges, build and improve roads and invest in public transit and airports. It will also provide funding to build critically needed schools, protect natural resources, and provide access to capital for economic development, affordable housing and community health centers throughout the state.

The Governor’s capital plan includes:

  • $14.4 billion for road and bridge programs

  • $2.7 billion for public transit

  • $500 million for airports and rail

  • $3.8 billion for school construction

  • $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

Illinois Works would be funded primarily through partial concession of the Lottery. While most capital programs are funded by issuance of debt, Illinois Works funds nearly 65 percent of its projects from pay-as-you-go sources. Only 35 percent of the program is bond funded. 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.

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