Quinn: $5 million will be used for road repairs in metro-east

News-DemocratOctober 24, 2013 

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in a 2012 file photo.


Gov. Pat Quinn has announced $5 million in state funding will be used to repair roads in the metro-east.

The additional funding for local cities, counties and road districts stems from the Illinois Jobs Now! program Quinn signed into law in 2009. The $31 billion program is funded through the sale of bonds.

"An important part of Illinois and our economy is our local roads, bridges and highways," Quinn said. "We are blessed in Illinois with a good interstate system and highways all across our state as part of our location in the middle of the United States. We are in the heart of the heartland and it's really important for our goods that we have to transport all across our state and mid-America to have a strong highway system, but you are only as strong as your local roads as well."

Quinn was flanked with metro-east mayors when he made the announced at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia. The funding will be split between cities, counties and road districts, including:

* Nearly $1.8 million in Madison County,

* More than $1.6 million in St. Clair County,

* Nearly $318,000 in Clinton County,

* More than $270,000 in Monroe County,

* More than $233,000 in Washington County.

* About $208,000 in Bond County.

"Our state is doing more construction on roads and bridges than almost anywhere in America," Quinn said. "Part of the vision of that Jobs Now Act is that every year for five years at least $100 million will go to local municipalities, counties and townships in our state."

The funding is in addition to the nearly $30 million the metro-east receives through the state's motor fuel tax. This is the fourth year the program has provided additional funding.

Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the Jobs Now program has spurred $14 billion worth of investment in the state highway system, including funding the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

"The $500 million included in the Jobs Now program (for local road repair) was something the governor thought was extremely important because we have 140,000 miles of road in the state of Illinois," Schneider said. "The state is responsible for 16,000 miles of road. Guess who's in control of those other 124,000 miles? These local governments are the ones responsible for maintaining their road system."

Local leaders choose the road projects with the state's Department of Transportation providing oversight.

Quinn also encouraged local leaders to take advantage of the state's $1 billion Clean Water Initiative, which allows cities to apply for a state loan to improve water systems.

Quinn said the state has issued 450 loans since the program began a year ago and no city has defaulted on a loan. Local participating in the program include Belleville, Freeburg, Glen Carbon, Alton, Lebanon, St. Jacob, Troy and Collinsville.

"Mark Twain lived in Missouri a long time ago and he said whiskey is for drinking and water's worth fighting for. We want to keep fighting for water," Quinn said.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett said the water program was a "win-win for all of us."

"Our goals for the Clean Water Initiative is providing healthy and safe water for our residents as well as providing long-term investment for economic development so our communities have wastewater and drinking water systems needed to encourage business development as well as residential growth," Bonnett said.

Bonnett said the water program has provided $53 million for local projects. Another $60 million worth of projects is under consideration by the state.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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