State leverages Rebuild Illinois Dollars to Support Public Infrastructure Projects and Construction Jobs for Summer
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced Fast-Track Public Infrastructure Grants, an initiative to accelerate work on planned public infrastructure projects around the state. The State is expediting $25 million of existing Rebuild Illinois funding to local public infrastructure projects that are ready to begin work this summer, as many local governments face lost revenues, impacting their ability to finance these projects.
While COVID-19 places a unique economic burden on communities across the state, this shift in grant funding will help accelerate construction on planned infrastructure projects, while helping return skilled labor to work.
"I'm proud to announce we are moving forward with $25 million in DCEO grants to help local governments jumpstart public infrastructure projects for the summer construction season," said Governor JB Pritzker. "This will keep key public infrastructure projects in the pipeline, and support the return of skilled labor to job sites for the busy summer season. Starting today, local governments with shovel ready projects – including school districts, townships, and other entities – can apply for this funding."
The Fast-Track program leverages funding from Rebuild Illinois, the state's multi-year capital plan, for allocation to shovel-ready projects just in time for the summer construction season. Fast-Track frontloads a portion of an existing Notice of Funding, to expedite funds available for grants ranging in size between $500,000 and $5 million. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, with projects submitted in underserved areas to be given priority.
"We recognize the unique challenge and burdens that COVID-19 is placing on us all, and we are taking steps to provide relief to businesses and communities," said DCEO Director Erin Guthrie. "Through the Fast Track Public Infrastructure Grants Program, the administration will provide a much-needed boost for workers across the state as well as the critical infrastructure projects our state depends on."
The Fast-Track grants will help restore key public works projects that may have otherwise been cancelled and will help skilled labor return to the job in time for the construction season. Funds can be used to support projects such as expansions of water and sewer systems and reinvestment to modernize schools and other public buildings.
"This program is about putting people back on the job now," said Illinois AFL-CIO President Tim Drea. "We applaud Gov. Pritzker for being proactive and innovative. The return of every dollar spent on public works is another brick in rebuilding our economy – both in terms of jobs created and economic development created by improved infrastructure."
Eligible grantees are local governments and other public entities with significant public infrastructure projects that could commence work within 90 days of receiving award notice. Projects eligible for grant funding must be public assets, must be permanent in nature and must not have recurring project expenses. Fast-Track projects must meet shovel-ready criteria, as well as the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois' Business Enterprise Program. To apply for the grants, please visit https://bit.ly/3cGMtHv.
These Fast Track grants accelerate a portion of an ongoing $50 million Notice of Funding Opportunity for public infrastructure. Communities that need more time or that do not have projects that meet the shovel-ready criteria may submit an application to receive a grant for the remainder of the funds by June 30.
Source funding for the Fast Track grants is generated by Rebuild Illinois– a $45 billion plan passed by Governor Pritzker to provide the state's first comprehensive capital plan in more than a decade. DCEO has been charged with spearheading a number of Rebuild Illinois programs, including investments to expand broadband capacity, fund new public works projects, incentivize business development, and other initiatives designed to promote economic growth for all communities across the state.
The Fast Track grants program is one of a number of economic assistance initiatives designed by DCEO to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic—with relief programs making more than $100 million available to Illinois communities in response to COVID-19. These emergency relief initiatives include the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, Emergency Hospitality Grants, the Emergency Small Business Loan Fund, and other targeted assistance to serve businesses and communities with the greatest needs.
DCEO will conduct a series of webinars and outreach to local governments to provide information on the new Fast Track grants. For a list of upcoming webinars as well as a list of resources available to small businesses please visit DCEO's website.