Tuesday, December 09, 2008
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Governor gives public works wish list to Obama transition team

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[December 09, 2008]  CHICAGO -- Responding to President-elect Barack Obama's pledge to create a massive public works program to stimulate the nation's economy, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in his weekly radio address Saturday commended Obama for his commitment to putting Americans back to work in this national recession.

In anticipation of a federal stimulus package that would invest in infrastructure, Blagojevich's administration has identified and provided to the Obama transition team a list of nearly 300 highway, transit, airport and railway infrastructure projects that are ready to begin immediately. These projects are estimated to cost $2.37 billion to complete and are estimated to put more than 94,000 Illinoisans to work. In addition, the state has provided a list of over 150 projects at public colleges and universities that could put an additional 14,600 Illinoisans to work and generate almost $4.8 billion in economic activity at a cost of over $2 billion.

Restaurant"The national recession has hurt Illinois workers. In 2008 alone, Illinois has lost over 50,000 jobs," Blagojevich said. "President-elect Obama understands the need to create an infrastructure program that creates jobs. I commend him for his commitment to revitalizing our economy, and I pledge that as soon as a national infrastructure plan is passed, our state will begin projects and put Illinoisans back to work."

The governor's administration has identified projects including such things as additional lanes on roads, resurfacing, bridge repair, CTA slow-zone eliminations, Metra station and yard improvements, Pace paratransit vehicles, downstate transit facilities, passenger and rail freight improvements, and runway and taxiway extensions at Illinois airports.

Transportation and transit projects include:

  • 252 projects to improve the condition of roads and bridges and add additional lanes to improve Illinois' transportation infrastructure, at an estimated cost of $783 million.

  • 22 projects to improve tracks, stations and yards, and purchase vehicles to improve mass transit, at an estimated cost of $1.213 billion.

  • 14 projects to improve passenger and commercial rail infrastructure, at an estimated cost of $333 million.

  • 11 runway and taxiway extensions at Illinois airports, at a cost of $42 million.

Examples of major transportation and transit projects included are:

  • Improvements to Amtrak service across Illinois, including new service to Rockford and the Quad Cities, which is estimated to provide 4,700 jobs.

  • Elimination of slow zones for CTA trains, which is estimated to provide 4,300 jobs.

  • Construction of additional lanes on U.S. 45 in Lake County, estimated to provide 2,500 jobs.

  • Improvements to Interstate 57 in Williamson, Franklin and Jefferson counties, estimated to provide 1,700 jobs.

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  • Construction of additional lanes on Illinois 47 in McHenry County, expected to provide 1,600 jobs.

  • Bridge replacement on I-55 at Illinois 162 in Madison County, estimated to provide 1,600 jobs.

  • Completion of the Alton Bypass in Madison County, estimated to provide 1,400 jobs.

  • Construction of additional lanes on Illinois 22 in Lake County, estimated to provide 900 jobs.

  • Rolling stock for CTA, Metra, Pace, downstate paratransit and Amtrak, estimated to create 18,500 jobs.

Earlier last week, Blagojevich traveled to Philadelphia to meet with other governors and the president-elect to discuss how the federal government can assist states in addressing their struggling economies as well as their state budget shortfalls. As part of the governor's four-pronged plan to manage Illinois' $2 billion budget deficit, he has requested increased direct federal stimulus aid, which would not only help to alleviate the projected revenue shortfall for fiscal year 2009, but also help Illinois stabilize its weakening economy.

Illinois is not alone in facing a fiscal 2009 budget shortfall due to lower-than-projected revenues. At the meeting with Obama and 48 of the nation's governors, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, chairman of the National Governor's Association, said 43 of 50 states currently face budget deficits.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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