Wednesday, Feb. 2


Truckers aid Illinois in keeping watch
on highways    
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[FEB. 2, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Trucking Association, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force and the American Trucking Associations announced Tuesday that Illinois has trained more transportation professionals in the nationwide Highway Watch program than any other state in the country. Since the Illinois Highway Watch program was initiated last spring, 4,294 individuals have undergone Highway Watch training.

"We think it's important that government work with private industry to help protect our nation's infrastructure," Gov. Rod Blagojevich said. "Illinois has always taken a proactive role in homeland security, and our partnership with the Illinois Trucking Association is certainly paying off for the people of our state by helping us keep the roadways safe and secure."

Illinois Highway Watch is a partnership between the American Trucking Associations, the Illinois Trucking Association and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. Coordination of training for the Illinois Highway Watch program is overseen by the Illinois Trucking Association and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Highway Watch participants are specially trained to recognize potential safety and security threats. The Highway Watch effort seeks to prevent terrorists from using large vehicles with hazardous cargoes as weapons on our nation's highways.

Highway Watch training provides transportation professionals with observational tools and the ability to report safety and security concerns rapidly and accurately to law enforcement. It uses the skills and experiences of America's transportation professionals to help protect our nation's critical infrastructure and the transportation of goods, services and people.

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"I'm very proud of what we've done here in Illinois, and I'm committed to maintaining our momentum," said George Billows, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association. "Keeping America's highways secure is essential, and the Highway Watch program is giving our state's transportation workers the specific skills and knowledge needed to support that effort."

Highway Watch® is a program administered by the American Trucking Associations under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with participation by all 50 states. The Illinois Highway Watch® program was kicked off in March 2004 with a $200,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to the Illinois Trucking Association.

"I'm very impressed with the level of dedication exhibited by Illinois transportation workers in joining their counterparts across the nation in answering the call to serve their country," said Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations. "Today there is no more important duty they can perform than to assist in keeping our roads safe and our public infrastructure secure."

[News release from the Office of Homeland Security, Illinois Terrorism Task Force]

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