This electronic newsletter is an opportunity for you to learn more about what we’ve accomplished in Illinois government, and how you can get involved. Whether it’s volunteering in a Serve Illinois volunteer project, receiving state services, or learning about new laws and programs, I want to ensure that you know what’s happening in your government.
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2011 Green Government Awards
On December 17, Governor Quinn presented ten Green Government Awards to Illinois agencies for their extraordinary green efforts on behalf of the State of Illinois. The program included a panel on Central Management Services (CMS) Green Initiatives and the official unveiling of the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council (GGCC) 2011 Annual Sustainability Report. Chaired by Governor Quinn, the GGCC helps more than 70 state agencies, boards, and commissions adopt greener ways of delivering services to Illinois residents year-round. For a full list of 2011 Green Government Award recipients, visit green.illinois.gov.
On December 19, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1587 and Senate Bill 40, allowing more veterans to join the ranks of the Illinois State Police (ISP) and extending the Veterans’ Care program beyond the original January 1, 2012 deadline. By waiving education requirements for veterans with overseas experience, Senate Bill 1587 will provide service members enhanced access to jobs when they return from their deployments, while utilizing their unique experience in the armed services. Senate Bill 40 provides veterans’ with comprehensive health care from $40 to $70 per month while also assisting members of the Illinois National Guard receive compensation quicker when responding to in-state natural disasters. For more information, visit www.operationhomefront.org or call the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs at (217) 782-6641 or (312) 814-2460.
On December 12, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced construction of the Chicago-Moline passenger rail corridor. The project has received $45 million in federal funding and will be matched by Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Program. The railway is expected to be in service in 2014. The construction will create nearly 2,000 jobs and promote economic development while offering an alternative form of transportation.
Federal Funding for Illinois Projects
On December 12, Governor Quinn joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Representative Jerry Costello, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, and Mayor Tom Hoechst of Alton in announcing $44,288,000 in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. The TIGER grants will be used towards high-speed rail projects. Alton will receive $13,850,000 towards creating a Multimodal Transportation Center in conjunction with the new High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail station while assisting with eco-tourism along the Mississippi River and providing pedestrian and roadway access to the new AMTRAK station. An additional $72 million public-private investment will go towards the Wadlow Town Centre redevelopment project. The Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line (CTA)/Chicago Bike Share Program will receive $20,000,000. The CTA will use funds to repair 3.6 miles of track. The Chicago Bike Share Program will use the funds to jump-start Chicago’s planned bike-sharing program. Illinois’ Route 83 will receive $10,438,000 to help reconstruct two miles of Illinois Route 83, helping reduce congestion and improve the flow of goods and services throughout the region. The reconstruction will create 135 jobs.
Independent Living for Persons with Disabilities
On December 16, Governor Quinn launched a housing program to help people with disabilities live independently. By committing $15 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding, Governor Quinn laid out plans for the first phase of the new public-private Home First Illinois initiative, overseen by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). Over the next three years, the Home First Illinois initiative will develop nearly 100 accessible and affordable homes, creating permanent affordable housing for an estimated 145 people with disabilities. IFF Housing, which worked with IHDA to receive financing from multiple banking and loan institutions, will manage the units and use the capital program funding to target currently vacant units. Referrals will be provided by Access Living once the renovations are complete. For more information, visit http://ihda.org/.
On December 16, Governor Quinn’s Office and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced $20 million in Illinois Jobs Now! funding for the design and construction of a new accelerator research facility at Fermilab. The new state-of-the-art research facility will be part of the Accelerator Research Center (IARC) complex. The IARC project is being funding jointly by Illinois’ capital funding and by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science (DOE). Nearly 200 high-tech jobs are expected to be created by the completion of the IARC. The IARC Complex will help develop private industry partnerships for the commercial and industrial application accelerator technology for sustainability, medicine, national security, and science. In addition, unique advanced educational opportunities for Illinois engineers and scientist will help attract top scientists from around the world. The IARC is another part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to boosting innovation in Illinois. For more information, visit http://www.commerce.state.il.us/dceo/.
On December 19, Governor Quinn headed to Germany to distribute hand-made cards from Illinois schoolchildren at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. After calling upon students of Illinois to make his trip successful, students across Illinois responded with thousands of cards to spread holiday cheer to those who could not be with their families this holiday season. This trip marks Governor Quinn’s eighth trip to Germany to visit the soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cards were shipped overseas using Chicago-based United Airlines.