Rebecca Mason | Executive Director, Infrastructure Council | 217-522-5512 x 234 

The Infrastructure Council is a subgroup of the Illinois Chamber that focuses 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. 

February 28, 2019
Governor Pritzker appointed a new Tollway board today. You can read the full press release below.

Springfield, Ill. - Turning the page to a new era of transparency and accountability, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 1298 and appointed a new board of highly talented and experienced professionals to lead the Illinois Toll Highway Authority into the future.
"It is a new day for the Illinois Tollway," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Our new leadership will uphold the highest ethical standards, deliver the value to taxpayers and serve Illinoisans in every corner of our state. I'm proud to usher in a new wave of transparency and accountability at this critical agency."
Will Evans will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* 

Evans has nearly 40 years of experience in strategic planning, operations, engineering, construction, large infrastructure projects and major IT system implementations and has been in senior leadership for over 20 years. He is the former President of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, regulated natural gas utilities now owned by WEC Energy Group. Since retirement from Peoples Gas, Evans has been an energy and engineering consultant, serves as president of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association and chairs the Chicago Commons board of directors and Skokie Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. He received his Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Jim Connolly will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.*  

Connolly has been a proud member of the Laborers' International Union of North America ("LiUNA") for over 48 years. He currently serves as the business manager of the Chicago & Vicinity Laborers' District Council and has held that position since he was first elected in March 2000.  Connolly proudly serves and fights to improve the lives of the 20,000 men and women who comprise the membership of the District Council's 15 affiliated LiUNA Locals. He has worked with all levels of government, including serving on an advisory panel charged with overseeing the potential privatization of Midway International Airport. Connolly strives to bring Labor and Management together to promote the industries represented by the members of the Laborers' District Council and the signatory contractors who employ them. 
Stephen L. Davis will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* 

Davis is the Founder and Chairman of The Will Group, a firm overseeing several construction, manufacturing, technology,  lighting, and energy industry companies.  Since 2010, The Will Group has been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the country's Top 100 Black businesses. Davis has a passion for economic development and has been an active member of Chicago's business community for several decades. He currently serves as the Commissioner of Aviation (Board Chair) of the DuPage Airport Authority and on the boards of the Trust Company of Illinois, PMI Energy Solutions, and Inland Real Estate Trust, specifically on Inland's Audit and Compensation committees. He is also a member of the Business Leadership Council's executive committee and the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation's board of directors. Davis is the founder of the Tuskegee Next Foundation, whose goal is to graduate 100 pilots from at-risk communities. As of August 2018, the program has successfully graduated 33 cadets and 27 licensed pilots. Stephen and his wife Tanya have raised 8 children. Davis received his bachelor's degree in Transportation and Materials from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Alice Gallagher will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.*  

Gallagher has served as president of the Village of Western Springs since May 2017 after serving four years as a village trustee. Since becoming village president, she has served on the West Central Municipal Conference, as director of the executive committee, co-chair of the transportation committee and chair of the central council. Gallagher is an attorney by trade and served on the Western Springs School District 101 Board of Education. She received her Juris Doctor from the Seattle University School of Law and Bachelor of Arts from Miami University.
Karen McConnaughay will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* 

McConnaughay served two terms as state senator of the 33rd District, where she was the Republican Minority Whip and the minority spokesperson for the Senate Transportation Committee. She also served on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Executive Board and International Relations Task Force. Prior to her election to the state senate, McConnaughay served as the County Board Chairman of Kane County from 2004 to 2012 where she achieved remarkable fiscal success  by lowering spending and reducing the size of government while bolstering accountability, efficiency and transparency, resulting in significant bond rating increases. Under her leadership, Kane County invested in major expansion and upgrades of county bridge and road systems, public transportation, 911 public safety and criminal justice facilities.
Scott Paddock will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.*  

Paddock has more than 20 years of industry experience in sales, marketing and general management. Since 2011, he has served as the president of the Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, the largest sports facility in the state of Illinois. In that role, he revamped their organizational structure, authoring strategic plan and cultural transformation to reposition enterprise for long-term success and year round relevance in the Chicago sports and entertainment landscape. Prior to joining Chicagoland Speedway, Paddock spent 12 years in marketing leadership positions at PepsiCo, including serving as the Director of Sports Marketing for Gatorade.  He also currently serves on the board of the Illinois Special Olympics, Silver Cross Health Systems, Will County Center for Economic Development and Chicago Sports Commission.  He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame.
Gary Perinar will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* 

Perinar currently serves as executive secretary-treasurer for the over 30,000 members of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. Perinar is a third-generation business representative of the union and a 40-year member of Carpenters Local 174 where he served his apprenticeship. At age 32, he became a full-time business representative and later an assistant to the president/EST. Perinar was twice elected as the second vice president of the Regional Council and has served under four ESTs. He has also served as a delegate for 25 years and held the position of trustee on various committees and boards including health and welfare and pension funds during this period. Perinar was the 2018 recipient of the esteemed George Meany Award which is a National Recognition by the Boy Scouts of America Pathway to Adventure Council. The award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the youth of the community.
Cesar Santoy will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.*

Santoy is the principal of Studio ARQ, LLC and ARQ Design Build, Inc., architecture and construction firms that serve public and private sector clients as well as individual home and business owners. He has over 20 years of progressively responsible experience in architectural design, construction management and civic engagement. Santoy also serves as 5th Ward Alderman for the City of Berwyn and is active in a variety of professional and community organizations. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a registered Architect in several states.
Jim Sweeney will serve on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority.* 

Sweeney is the president-business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. He joined the union in 1978 and worked for contractors on sewer, slag, paving and deep tunnel projects. Since Sweeney joined Local 150 in 1987, the union's membership doubled from less than 10,000 to more than 23,000. He has been president-business manager since 2008 and steered Local 150 through the recession while maintaining wage and benefit levels and implementing temporary healthcare subsidies and the Local 150 Food Bank to offer assistance to members in need. Sweeney served on the tollway board under Gov. Quinn from 2011 to 2015 where he advocated for the efficient modernization of the nation's most advanced network of toll roads.
All appointments are pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.


This week only the House was in session. I did continue conversations with key legislators and heard that they remain optimistic Illinois will have a new capital bill by the end of May. Many expected capital discussions to come at the end of session, but ideas about spending are already coming together.

Beginning next week, the House and Senate will hold subject matter hearings on capital. The Senate hearings are focused on hearing from local individuals and companies and the House is focusing more on The schedule of meetings is below.

Senate Appropriations and Transportation Subcommittees on Capital
  • Monday, March 4th at 3:00pm, Edwardsville (details)
  • Monday, March 18th in Decatur
  • Monday April 8 in Peoria
  • Tuesday, April 16 in Chicago
  • Monday, April 22 in Elgin
House Appropriations-Capital
  • Thursday, March 7th
  • Thursday, March 14th

AASHTO hosted Congressional transportation leaders last week to discuss the chances of a funding bill in the near future and possible revenue options. Congressional leaders remain hopeful that there will be a transportation bill move out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this spring. However, the key to a successful bill is revenue to back it. The House Ways and Means Committee is looking at options, according to DeFazio. No consensus seems to have been reached at the moment, however. DeFazio indicated he believes they will have two bills: one reauthorizing the FAST Act and another looking at a more long-term authorization with some chagnes to 
policy. Coverage of AASHTO's event is available here and here.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee also held a hearing on climate change. Democrat staff underscored three efforts
  1. Improve fuel efficiency standards
  2. Shift from fossil fuels to electricity and other fuel sources
  3. Reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled
If pursued, these goals would place further strain on our current transportation funding mechanism, though they are still only ideas at this point.

You can review the legislation I am tracking at the links below. We have passed the bill introduction deadline, so if you see any legislation with which you have concerns, please let me know. I have included the summary of each bill in these reports.


Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch guest hosted Springfield's 1450 Sports Radio morning show. I joined him and Hannah Meisel, from The Daily Line, to talk infrastructure.

The Illinois Chamber has two events coming up. The first brings together women business leaders from across the State for the Chamber's second Women in Business conference on March 15th at Pinstripes in Oak Brook.  For more information, the agenda, sponsorship information, and how to register , visit the conference website.

Our second event is the Chamber's annual lobby day, Chamber Day, in Springfield. On March 20th, join other business leaders to hear from policymakers on a variety of topics.  If you would like to register, you can do so here .

Finally, I am nearing confirmation of our First Quarter Infrastructure Council meeting. I am hoping to have those details out soon.


Key Legislation

Upcoming Events
March 15
|   Women in Business Conference
Oak Brook, IL

March 20 |   Chamber Day
Springfield, IL   

April 3   |   
TFIC Lobby Day
Springfield, IL  

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Not a member and want to learn more about the Illinois Chamber click here to contact Jeanette Anderson