Transportation plan released; Improving the energy bill

IDOT releases multi-year transportation improvement plan

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has released its latest Multi-Year Improvement Program, the plan of all road construction projects to be conducted between 2023 and 2028. The plan is rolled over annually and updated as existing projects are completed and new needs arise, but it gives us an opportunity to see what IDOT’s priorities for road construction and other transportation projects will be for the coming years.

The plan includes dozens of projects in all five counties of the 106th district. In total, the 2023-2028 plan spends $34.6 billion on new and expanded roads, bridges, railroad crossing safety improvements, as well as non-motorized corridors like trails and bike paths. Funds will come from both state and federal sources. IDOT will replace or rebuild almost 10 million square feet of bridge deck area and will reconstruct or rehabilitate over 2500 miles of roads throughout the state, including 381 miles of Interstate highway.

To review the plan for our area, please click here.

Legislation introduced to fix shortcomings of recent energy bill

Last fall the General Assembly passed a bipartisan energy bill which will save jobs in our area and make the state’s energy grid cleaner and more reliable. Unfortunately, while the bill’s long-term effects will be positive, it also contained a number of flaws which are causing difficulties for some Illinoisans in the short term. This month I have joined in an effort to enact legislation to fix those flaws and make this transition easier for Illinois residents.

A big part of the problem centers on the forced closure of many existing Illinois power plants before newer, clean energy plants are ready to pick up the demand. House Bill 5781 will repeal the forced 2045 closure date for coal and natural gas power plants that was included in last year’s bill. This change will help ensure that the grid is able to continue to meet demand without interruption. House Bill 5782 would also take a step in this direction by getting rid of bureaucratic red tape at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and speeding up the state permitting process for new power plants.

These bills will help to correct some of the problems with the new energy bill and ensure a smoother transition to cleaner, more reliable energy in the future. I hope that we can get these bills heard and passed during the fall veto session in November.

Ford County Town Hall coming up

On Tuesday night August 30 I will be hosting a town hall meeting in Gibson City for area residents to visit and discuss recent events in state government. We will be meeting at the Moyer District Library at 618 S. Sangamon Avenue in Gibson City at 5:30 p.m. If you have a question or a comment about the recent legislative session, or need help with a state agency, please stop by. I look forward to the conversation!

Continued service on the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission

This week I was re-appointed to another term on the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, a state board which “protects the rights and promotes the welfare of persons with disabilities.” It has been my honor to serve on this important board since 2020 along with fourteen other legislators, attorneys, doctors, teachers and others who are committed to ensuring that those with disabilities are protected and receive the care they deserve.

Visit to football camp in Dwight

I recently stopped by the Dwight First Baptist Church to visit their weeklong Football Camp and learn more. It is quite an operation! The church has been hosting this camp for many years. Over 300 players and 200 coaches, pastors and support folks from several states attended. The players were divided up into 20 teams from little league through high school. Each team played every day, with the “Super Bowl” coming the last day! Through the course of the week, the coaches, pastors and kids talked about leadership, accountability, compassion and faith!  Thank you Pastors Daniel Woodward and Tim Booth and your host of tremendous volunteers for an amazing week!

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $2,772,569,083 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $4.8 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $141 billion.

Did You Know?

Alcatraz in California is probably the most famous federal prison in American history, even holding Al Capone for several years. But did you know that when it was closed in the early 1960s many of its inmates eventually made their way to a new facility here in Illinois? The United States Penitentiary at Marion was the highest security facility in the federal system and held some of the nation’s worst organized crime figures, drug traffickers and spies for about 25 years from the 1970s until an even stronger prison opened in Florence, Colorado, in 1994.

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