Happy Friday everyone. After the world's best dog and I survived 35 miles together on a canoe in the Current River last weekend, maybe it's fitting this week's newsletter is heavy on waterway news.
New Infrastructure Council Chairman
I am excited to announce that David Bruner is the new chairman of the Infrastructure Council. David is an executive with United Contractors Midwest, one of the largest and most proficient construction companies in the Midwest. Mr. Bruner also sits on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and is involved with the Associated General Contractors. We look forward to working closely with David to advance transportation related policy. Particularly, we'd like to start the discussion on what the next capital looks like. We can't wait longer than a celebrity marriage between critical infrastructure bills.
$40 Million for Cairo Port Project
Senator Dale Fowler and Governor Pritzker announced $40 million in funding for the Cairo Port Project. The port has long been a dream for Senator Fowler and he worked to get funding provided in the 2019 capitol bill.
The state will immediately provide $4 million in grants for the project and a total of $40 million has been allocated to fund the design and development of a river port. The remaining $35 million needed for the project will come from private investors. The project is estimated to create approximately 500 permanent jobs.
Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Cairo sits at an ideal spot of a port. An estimated 80% of the country's river traffic passes by Cairo each day.
House Unanimously Passes Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA)
This week the US House unanimously passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA). This significant infrastructure bill is crucial to maintaining the Illinois Waterway system. It provides funding for the Brandon Road project designed the prevent the spread of Asian Carp to Lake Michigan. The feds will provide 80% of the funding for that project. It also increases the federal cost share for inland waterway system infrastructure projects from 50 to 65%.
$103.5 Million for Infrastructure Improvements at 15 Community Colleges
On Thursday, Governor Pritzker announced $103.5 million for infrastructure imporvements at 15 community colleges throughout the state. The funding for these projects comes courtesy of the 2019 capital bill. The projects are:
Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg/Knox County: $422,700 for road resurfacing on a significant portion of Tom L. Wilson Blvd on campus.
College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn/DuPage County: $3.3 million for grounds and retention pond improvements including bank stabilization of three ponds and construction of observation platforms.
Danville Area Community College in Danville/Vermilion County: $2.3 million to remodel 32,500 square feet of space at the Clock Tower Center, a building from the early 1900s and for rehabilitation of Ornamental Horticulture Building, including additions to the greenhouse.
Harper College in Palatine/Cook County: $42 million for a one stop admissions and campus student life center and related improvements.
John A. Logan College in Carterville/Williamson County: $3.8 million for an 8,200 square foot, two-story expansion of the west lobby building.
Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield/Sangamon County: $3.8 million to renovate and expand the student services center in Menard Hall.
Lincoln Trail College (Illinois Eastern Community Colleges) in Robinson/Crawford County: $8.4 million for construction of a technology center, providing classroom and laboratory space for several of its technical programs.
McHenry County College in Crystal Lake/McHenry County: $15.8 million for a new 52,000 square foot career, technical and manufacturing center.
Morton College in Cicero/Cook County: $4.9 million for parking lot expansion and lot, road and walkway replacements, including lighting and landscaping.
Olney Central College (Illinois Eastern Community Colleges) in Olney/ Richland County: $2.3 million for an applied technology center for allied health field instruction and increased computer labs.
Rend Lake College in Ina/Jefferson County: $5.3 million for a new allied health building, including classrooms and laboratories.
Shawnee Community College in Ullin/Pulaski County: $2 million for HVAC upgrades in buildings H and I on its main campus.
Southeastern Illinois College in Carmi/White County: $1.7 million for development of a vocational building at an extension campus site in Carmi on land donated by the city.
Spoon River College in Macomb/McDonough County: $6.1 million to expand and renovate the Taylor and Centers buildings at its Macomb campus, which house career and technical education and nursing programs.
Triton College in River Grove/Cook County: $1.7 million for new energy efficient windows at its four-line buildings.
New Bills of Interest
The following legislation has been introduced into the General Assembly since June 1st. The Chamber is monitoring these items and appreciates your feedback.
HB 5790 (Ugaste-McCombie) Provides restrictions on the Governor's ability to declare successive disasters without approval from the General Assembly
HB 5813 (Tom Bennett)- Reduces the trailer weight fee for maximum loads of 3000 pounds from $118 a year to the previous level of $18. The Chamber has supported versions of this bill in the past as the current law encourages noncompliance. The fine for noncompliance is less than the registration fee
SB 3989 (Plummer)- Creates the COVID-19 Immunity Act which would provide immunity to any individual, business or unit of local government for liability for civil damages for acts or omissions that result in the transmission of COVID-19, with the exception of "willful and wanton" conduct.
The DEPARTMENT OF LABOR proposed an amendment to the Part titled Employee Classification Act (56 IAC 240; 44 Ill Reg 12728) updating contractor reporting requirements to align with current statute. The rulemaking requires reports of payments made to an individual, sole proprietor or partnership performing construction service to be submitted to DOL electronically on or before April 30 (currently, January 31) following the taxable year in which payments were made. Construction services and their contractors are affected
Articles of Interest