URBANA – Gov. JB Pritzker used local road projects in Champaign County as his backdrop Tuesday to announce the latest round of Rebuild Illinois grants.
The governor’s actual backdrop was a lineup of heavy equipment at the Champaign County Highway Department building in Urbana. Standing in front of them, Pritzker listed the accomplishments of Rebuild Illinois to date, including over 3,000 miles of highway improvements, 180 new bridges and hundreds of other projects. He said the state’s investment in local infrastructure lifted a burden from local property taxes.
“That’s why I’m so excited to be here in Champaign to announce $250 million in new grants for counties, municipalities and townships, bringing our total funding for these grants through Rebuild Illinois to a billion dollars so far.”
Pritzker says in Champaign County, the grants will pay for reinforcing the aging bridge that carries Flatville Road, between Flatville and Thomasboro, over the Upper Salt Fork drainage ditch. It will also provide major upgrades to Sidney Road, such as wider shoulders and more rumble strips. The road, also known as the Sidney Slab, connects the village of Sidney with Illinois Route 130.
“These are changes that aren’t focused on those who are passing through on the interstate,” said Pritzker. “These are tangible upgrades for the families that call Champaign County home.”
Pritzker signed the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan in 2019. It passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support. But one of its GOP opponents, Darren Bailey, is now running for governor.
Pritzker Reaffirms Plans For COVID Relief Funding
Gov. Pritzker says his administration is studying new guidance from the US Treasury Department on how it can spend money from the latest COVID-19 relief package.
But he said his plans for using the money haven’t changed.
“Just to be clear, I believe that the dollars coming in from the federal government, before we start thinking about spending it in other places, let’s make sure we pay the bills that racked up during the very difficult year we had last year,” said Pritzker.
Pritzker says he wants to use money from the American Rescue Plan Act to pay off $250 million in short-term Federal Reserve debt incurred during the pandemic. Other relief money would go to pay off a backlog of bills and loans that the governor says allowed the state to help families, along with schools, healthcare and human service agencies.
(This article was updated to provide more information about the two local road and bridge projects highlighted at the governor’s news conference. – JM 5/12/21)
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