Clark Kaericher | Vice President, Government Affairs | 217-522-5512 x 296

September 25th, 2020

The Infrastructure Council is an initiative of the Illinois Chamber that brings together Chamber members with a focus on increasing infrastructure investments in a strategic and thoughtful way to boost the overall business climate in Illinois. Our focus is on the public and private systems that are essential to Illinois businesses. 

Hello everyone, there is a lot to celebrate as it's less than 40 days until Election Day and Big Ten football is back. Nothing can keep me down this week, not even hosting my daughter's birthday party full of 5-year olds with a mask mandate.
Governor's Working Group on Transportation
On Tuesday, the Governor's transportation working group met to discuss the electrification of vehicles. The Governor has a goal of 750,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
Some like ICAN's (Illinois Clean Air NOW) Philip Jones suggested that the Governor's goal was not ambitious enough. ICAN is calling for double that amount, or 1.5 million, electric vehicles on Illinois roads by 2030. Of course, consumers will be reluctant to make the switch without electric charging density. 1.5 million vehicles would require an estimated 50,000 charging stations throughout the state.  
Other groups like, like the Illinois Municipal League, were skeptical. The IML focused on the detrimental impact on capital revenues in the form of motor fuel taxes by switching to electric vehicles. According to the IML, MFT revenues are down 18% this year.
This issue is one that we will continue to monitor closely. California Governor Gavin Newsome signed an executive order on Wednesday which will ban the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered passenger cars in that state by 2035. California often serves as the harbinger of things to come in Illinois. For now, Governor Pritzker's electric ambitions remain merely goals.
Illinois EPA Announces $20 Million in Rebuild Illinois Funding for Sewers
This week, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director John Kim announced two grant opportunities with $20 million in funding available to assist communities with inadequate or nonexistent wastewater collection and treatment facilities. Illinois EPA is making $100 million available through the Chamber backed, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan over the next five years for construction grants for wastewater collection and/or treatment facilities. Illinois EPA is also making $1 million available for the next four years for planning grants to assist small and disadvantaged communities in developing a project plan that identifies a solution to wastewater collection and treatment needs. Notices of Funding Opportunities have been posted for both programs. Applicants are required to pre-qualify through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal.

Illinois EPA is aware of more than 200 Illinois communities that have inadequate or nonexistent wastewater collection and treatment facilities. Some communities rely on individual septic tank systems, which often provide inadequate treatment leading to illegal surface discharges. For communities where wastewater "collection" facilities are present, these facilities are often patchworks of decades-old underground "wildcat" systems that also result in illegal surface discharges. For unsewered communities, affordability is the greatest hurdle to overcome.
Committee Updates
While other committees are following suit and adopting the virtual committee platforms, there are no transportation related hearings scheduled for the foreseeable future. I don't anticipate anything substantive until Veto Session.
Articles of Interest 

Until next time,   

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