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Governor's Monthly Newsletter: October 2013 

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.

If you have ideas for improving any State service, program, or this very newsletter, please click here and let us know.

Sincerely,

Pat Quinn
Governor


Featured Articles

Illinois Launches Get Covered Illinois - The New Online Marketplace for Affordable Health Care

On October 1, Governor Pat Quinn launched Get Covered Illinois, the state’s comprehensive education and enrollment online platform for uninsured residents to sign up for health coverage under the Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). GetCoveredIllinois.gov is the official website marketplace where individuals, families and small business owners can get connected to their new health insurance options with coverage starting Jan. 1. The state is working with community groups in every corner of Illinois to provide direct enrollment assistance.

Governor Quinn Announces Transportation Investments as Part of Vision to Drive Chicago’s Southland Forward

On October 14, Governor Quinn addressed the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce and outlined his economic vision for the south suburbs of Chicago, which includes creating thousands of jobs through building the Illiana Expressway and South Suburban Airport. Governor Quinn also announced $3.4 million in capital investments for local governments in south suburban communities and Kankakee County. The Illiana Expressway will be a 47-mile access controlled highway that extends from I-55 in Illinois on the west to I-65 in Indiana on the east. When built, the Illiana Corridor Project will create an invaluable regional asset for the south suburbs, the state and the broader Midwest, promoting and supporting the business environment, workforce, local and global economy and quality of life.

Governor Quinn and Mayor Emanuel Unveil CTA’s New Red Line South

Governor Quinn, Chicago Mayor Emanuel and city and state officials on October 17 provided a preview of the new Red Line South—one of the largest and most innovative transit projects in the country and a significant investment in the ongoing modernization of public transportation in Chicago. The 10.2-mile stretch has been closed for five months to rebuild the railroad and upgrade eight stations along the rail line, which serves dozens of communities along Chicago’s South Side. The $425 million project—which created more than 1,500 jobs, many of which will continue after the project ends—will be completed on time and within budget. Condensing the work into five months saved $75 million over an alternative option to perform work on weekends only over a period of four years. The $75 million of savings was reinvested by the CTA in improvements to eight stations along the branch that received new lighting, painting, Train Tracker screens and other enhancements to improve customer experience.

Governor Quinn and Local Leaders Break Ground on $3.4 Billion Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project

On October 29, Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur, Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin broke ground on the long-awaited Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project - the largest roadway project in the state and one of the largest in the nation. The $3.4 billion project includes 17 miles of new toll roads and 15 new or improved interchanges and will bring needed congestion relief, reduced travel times, new access to O’Hare International Airport and thousands of jobs for residents of the region. This historic project is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

$8.8 Million in State Assistance Helped Community Recover from One of Region’s Worst Recent Natural Disasters

On October 13, Governor Quinn revisited areas of Harrisburg that were devastated by a Feb. 29, 2012 tornado, and viewed first-hand the progress that has been made due in part to $8.8 million in state assistance following the disaster. Several state of Illinois agencies provided funding and manpower to clean up, rebuild and improve storm-ravaged areas of southern Illinois as a part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to make all possible assistance available to the area.

Governor Quinn Celebrates Latino Inventors, Trailblazers

Creators of the ballpoint pen, hydrogen battery and “victory lap” were just a few of the Latino “Inventors, Innovators and Trailblazers” celebrated by Governor Quinn in an exhibit that opened October 7 in the James R. Thompson Center. As part of Governor Quinn’s celebration of Latino Heritage Month, a dozen Latino inventors were profiled, from José Labandera – the 19th century Ecuadorian sailor who built the first successful submarine – to Dr. Luis Von Ahn, a 34-year old Guatemalan mathematician who created CAPTCHA, the twisted letters seen on computer screens which users must retype to prove they’re human. There are now more than two million Latinos in Illinois, about one in six people. For the first time, a majority of Illinois Latinos live outside of Chicago, with fast-growing populations in places such as Kane County and downstate Beardstown.

Governor Quinn and Mayor Emanuel Open Historic South Lake Shore Drive Expansion

On October 26, Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other state and local officials opened the expanded section of South Lake Shore Drive, a $64 million project that will improve traffic flow and downtown access from the south and west. The joint state-city project creates a new main north-south alignment for U.S. Route 41 by relocating Lake Shore Drive from 79th Street to Ewing near 92nd Street, a distance of about two miles, and connecting side roads from the existing neighborhood to the new alignment. This project adds character to the south Chicago community and allows easier access across it from areas west toward Lake Michigan. More than 24,000 vehicles per day are expected to use the new alignment.

Governor Quinn Opens FER-PAL Construction U.S. Headquarters in Illinois

Governor Quinn joined FER-PAL Construction officials on October 15 to open the water main rehabilitation company’s new U.S. headquarters in Elgin, creating 50 new jobs. Governor Quinn’s personal involvement helped convince the firm to choose Illinois. FER-PAL Construction, based in Toronto, was established in 1986 to provide municipalities with water main rehabilitation services using “trenchless technology.” This technology has provided municipalities across the United States with a cost-effective alternative to traditional water main replacement. Governor Quinn’s recruitment of FER-PAL is part of an intentional strategy to recruit innovative water technology companies to Illinois.

Inaugural Illinois Coastal Management Grant Will Fund Environmental Projects Along Lake Michigan

On October 12, Governor Quinn announced more than $730,000 in investments to support local environmental education projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline and in the Millennium Reserve-Calumet region. The projects are part of the Illinois Coastal Management Program (ICMP), which was officially formed in 2012 at the direction of Governor Quinn to protect and manage the natural and cultural resources along the 63 miles of Illinois’ Lake Michigan shoreline. These priorities include habitat, ecosystems and natural area restoration; priority rivers, lakes and harbors; invasive species; public access and recreation; sustainable development; and economic development.

State Officials Open Workers’ Rights and Jobs Summit in Springfield

On October 2, The Illinois Department of Labor, joined by state agencies, faith-based organizations and union groups launched a Workers’ Rights and Jobs Summit in Springfield. The day-long program was the first in a series of statewide outreach events to inform residents of their working rights, job opportunities in the construction field and other occupations in Illinois. More than 230 people attended the event held at Faith Coalition for the Common Good. This initiative reinforces Governor Quinn’s commitment to making employment opportunities available to all Illinoisans and ensuring that all workers are treated fairly.

Helping Service Members Find Civilian Employment

On October 14, Governor Quinn announced that Illinois is one of six states selected for a special program to help those leaving military service attain certification for in-demand civilian careers. The Veterans Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy, formed by the National Governors Association (NGA), will help selected states create clear pathways for veterans to obtain state-level credentials for certain law enforcement and health care careers.

600 Rental Units for Seniors and People with Disabilities to be Rehabbed

On October 19, Governor Quinn announced the state’s Preservation Now program will finance the preservation of approximately 600 affordable rental units for seniors and people with disabilities in Chicago and Peoria. The project is expected to create more than 500 jobs and is part of the Governor’s agenda to ensure quality affordable housing for working families, seniors and people with disabilities across Illinois. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) administers the Preservation Now Program to preserve affordable housing across the state. IHDA board members on Friday approved financing for the first two projects under the program: 478 apartments in four developments in Peoria and a 100-unit development in Chicago.

Governor Quinn Highlights Innovative School Green Infrastructure Improvements

On October 12, Governor Quinn joined students, parents and community leaders to highlight an upcoming school improvement project made possible through the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant (IGIG) program. Ravenswood Elementary School was among 13 applicants that received funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to support projects that reduce the amount of pollution running into Illinois waterways from storm water sources and reduce the risk of local flooding. This project will be a joint effort between Friends of Ravenswood School (FORS) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which will administer the $750,000 Illinois EPA IGIG grant and provide nearly $475,000 in matching funds.

Governor Quinn Congratulates Illinois’ 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools

On October 11, Governor Pat Quinn congratulated all of Illinois’ 21 nationally recognized 2013 Blue Ribbon Schools while at Queen of Angels Catholic Elementary School in Chicago. Every year the United States Department of Education selects public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ academic achievement. This year, 12 public and nine private Illinois schools were chosen for the educational honor. Illinois’ 21 National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2013 include:

  • Frazier International Magnet School, Chicago
  • Greenbriar Elementary School, Northbrook
  • Lincoln Elementary School, Morton
  • Mark T. Skinner West Elementary School, Chicago
  • Northside Catholic Academy, Chicago
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy, Chicago
  • Prairie Crossing Charter School, Grayslake
  • Queen of Angels School, Chicago
  • Roslyn Road Elementary School, Barrington
  • Saint Joan of Arc School, Evanston
  • Saint Andrew School, Chicago
  • Saint Francis Xavier School, La Grange
  • Saint Michael School, Orland Park
  • Saint Norbert School, Northbrook
  • Saint Peter Lutheran School, Arlington Heights
  • Sandburg Middle School, Elmhurst
  • Scott Elementary School, Scott Air Force Base
  • The Skokie School, Winnetka
  • Twin Groves Middle School, Buffalo Grove
  • United North Elementary School, Alexis
  • Wescott Elementary School, Northbrook

Solar Power International Conference held in Chicago

Governor Quinn on October 21 addressed the 2013 Solar Power International conference in Chicago, highlighting the major advances Illinois has made in promoting and developing sustainable energy sources in the state. Illinois is among the top 10 solar-friendly states based on solar power incentives, utility interconnection and metering policies. Governor Quinn has implemented standards that will require 25 percent of the state’s energy needs to be met by renewable energy by 2025, six percent of which must come from solar power. There are 185 companies in the solar supply chain in Illinois that employ 1,700 workers. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Clean Energy Program builds upon Illinois’ significant potential for renewable power by offering services and incentives for residents and businesses.