Illinois Stakeholders Target $ 17 Billion In Infrastructure Bill

The maneuvers have started between political leaders, labor unions and planning organizations in Illinois as they set their priorities for the state’s more than $ 17 billion share in the infrastructure bill. $ 1.2 trillion awaiting President Biden’s signature.

State Senate Speaker Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, both Democrats, supported the campaign to secure federal funding to kick off the planned reconstruction of 2, $ 7 billion freeway from downtown Chicago to the west and an adjacent Chicago Transit. Authority train line.

“We are united here today to call on others to join in making this project a priority. This becomes a reality if and only if federal transportation officials join state and local leaders in providing resources “and passing the legislation” is a huge step forward, “Harmon said at a conference. Tuesday press organized by the Rebuild 290 Coalition.

A highway construction project in Illinois. Stakeholders believe that the recently passed Federal Infrastructure Bill will further unblock such constructions.

Bloomberg News

Local heavyweights were in attendance, including city transportation officials, labor leaders, Chicago Chamber of Commerce chief Jack Lavin, and representatives from the Illinois Institute of Economic Policy and the Agency. metropolitan planning of Chicago.

In an initial information call with federal transportation authorities, Harmon said attendees were asked to identify and advocate for transformation projects.

State lawmakers passed a resolution in June calling for federal help to speed up engineering studies and construction, but the project has stalled due to a lack of public funds. State transport officials have considered specialized toll lanes and a public-private partnership.

The project is just one project officials are trying to align for the funding stream of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Illinois-based stakeholders are calling for money to strengthen water infrastructure, airports, transit, and road and bridge projects, as well as broadband expansion. Officials say they’re waiting for advice, but that hasn’t stopped early maneuvers.

The competitive grant allocations in the bill could be in addition to the $ 17 billion planned for Illinois. All 13 Democrats in the Illinois House delegation voted for the deal with only one of five Republicans joining.

Package allocates $ 1.7 billion over five years to Illinois for drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, $ 9.8 billion for federally funded road projects, $ 1.4 billion for bridge replacement, $ 4 billion for public transportation projects, $ 100 million for broadband expansion and $ 149 million for electric vehicle charging. network, according to a statement by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats.

More than $ 600 million will be paid to Illinois for airport improvements over five years, increasing the airport improvement grant program and creating a new terminal improvement program.

Known funding and the potential for more competitive grant awards could support several important items on Chicago’s radar involving the replacement of lead pipes, the expansion of O’Hare International Airport and the expansion of a major Chicago Transit Authority train line.

Funding for water will likely come through the state revolving fund run by the Illinois Finance Authority, which is examining the impact of the federal program with allowances for lead replacement and general infrastructure.

Chicago’s five-year investment program relies heavily on debt to cover $ 11.2 billion in spending with key funding coming from $ 2.8 billion in planned borrowing for water and wastewater, 2, $ 4 billion in aviation debt and $ 1.8 billion in general bond loans. State funds represent $ 638 million and federal funds $ 753 million and $ 1.3 billion have yet to be identified, aaccording to the Chicago Civic Federation.

The city has new funding and is repaying ongoing GO, water and sewer and airport agreements for next year, so any new funding could complement existing plans and fill in gaps.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has looked at how to pay for the replacement of lead pipes in homes amid a funding drought and the current focus on rebuilding the city’s existing main lines. Direct service lines are the responsibility of the owners.

Last year, the city took the first steps towards what could become a long-term $ 8.5 billion program to replace lead-based water pipes in the city by funding several small programs with limited costs. Lightfoot said it was too early to talk about future water revenue borrowing or rate hikes as the plan expands into the years to come.

The need for infrastructure upgrades and lead pipe replacement extends beyond Chicago’s borders and has been highlighted recently by the loss of water pressure and boiling orders from the impoverished suburb of Dixmoor due to failing infrastructure that led to leaks. Dixmoor receives its water from Harvey, which contracts with Chicago to supply treated water to Lake Michigan. Dixmoor and Harvey have traded blame on the crisis. Neither can afford system upgrades.

CTA and other service commissions that operate commuter train and commuter bus services will benefit from the program’s $ 1.75 billion allocation to improve accessibility, funding supported by Duckworth, a army veteran who lost his legs due to war injuries.

CTA also continues to seek funding sources for future phases of its red line expansion plans. The first $ 2.1 billion phase of rebuilding the Red Line and its adjacent Purple Line on the city’s north side is in place, and more than half comes from federal grants.

Chicago has $ 11 billion in proposed investment projects at O’Hare International Airport, including an $ 8.5 billion terminal overhaul announced in 2018. New money and payback are slated for the year and the potential for future additional grants would offset the impact of the projects on airlines and could accelerate project spending.

At the state level, the injection of roads and bridges will complement a six-year, $ 45 billion infrastructure program approved by lawmakers at the behest of Governor JB Pritzker in 2019. The package authorized $ 23 billion. $ 20 billion in new borrowing capacity, including $ 20 billion and $ 3 billion in sales tax-backed paper that the state has operated over the past two years.

“With this historic investment, we will be able to broaden the reach of our historic Rebuild Illinois investment program,” said Pritzker. in a tweet after passing through the House.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said it is investigating when additional federal guidance is available.

Illinois is the number one direct benefit recipient behind California, Texas, New York and Florida. Other major beneficiaries in the Midwest include Ohio, which expects $ 11 billion, and Michigan, which expects more than $ 10 billion.

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