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Illinois’ $12B Infrastructure Plan, the Largest Ever in the State, Includes Minority and Female Hiring Incentives

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has unveiled a $12.62 billion infrastructure plan which he hopes will move the state’s economy forward by improving roads and bridges and revamping public transportation. It is part of his $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program which was passed by legislature in 2009. The program will support 439,000 jobs over the next six years and contains progressive hiring incentives aimed at bringing more women and minorities into the construction trades according to an announcement:

“Illinois is the transportation hub of the nation, and this program will ensure we have the modern infrastructure needed to compete with the world,” Gov. Quinn said. “This major investment in roads, bridges and public transportation will drive economic growth in every part of Illinois, and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

The plan will improve 2,142 miles of highway and replace 517 bridges across the state. Specific projects that will receive attention thanks to Quinn’s infrastructure plan include:

$475 million to reconstruct the Circle Interchange in Chicago; $56 million to repair and upgrade I-74 in eastern Illinois; $83 million to resurface and replace bridges on I-57 in Marion, Pulaski, Union, Johnson and Williamson Counties; $76.2 million for a new Mississippi River bridge in Moline (in cooperation with the state of Iowa); and $40.4 million to resurface and repair bridges along Interstate 55 in Logan County.

At the project’s unveiling, Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said:

These projects will make our entire transportation system safer, easier, more efficient, and ready to accommodate our current and future needs,” Schneider said. “But they come with another benefit — the fact that we will employ thousands of Illinois men and women, and support numerous Illinois businesses, while construction is underway.”

Certain elements of the plan have been put in place to further minority participation. Infrastructure projects have a high level of return as they employ workers across industry. When proper hiring provisions are built-in an added layer of community development can be expected. Workers who may not have otherwise had a chance to participate can begin a path to a long-term career.

IDOT is offering contractors a reimbursement rate of $10 an hour for hiring graduates of the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, an IDOT-sponsored initiative to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in the transportation construction industry.

The infrastructure plan is the largest in the history of the state of Illinois.


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