Press Releases
July 13, 2009
Contact: Nick Kaleba, 312-222-1000 work

Unions applaud signing of Capital Bill

Public works bill will make infrastructure safer and create much-needed jobs during economic crisis

Chicago, IL —

Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon and other labor leaders today joined Illinois Governor Pat Quinn as he signed the state’s first capital bill in ten years into law.  The $29 billion capital investment package will improve the state’s crumbling infrastructure and put people back to work during the worst economic recession in decades.

The capital package is made up of a series of bills that received strong, bipartisan support from the members of the Illinois General Assembly.

“This is a stimulus package for Illinois that will get our economy back on track by putting people back to work,” said Gannon. “Legislators stepped up to the plate and did the right thing for the people of Illinois. Now the Governor, too, has done the right thing by signing it into law.  Over the next five years, tens of thousands of men and women in the Chicago area and across the state will go to work making our roads and bridges safer, our schools better for our children, and our mass transit systems more effective.”

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 32 percent of major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and need repair and 4,583 bridges are classified as functionally obsolete and/or structurally deficient.  Investment in Illinois’ transportation infrastructure will keep the state competitive and rebuild its economy by putting men and women back to work.  Illinois’ unemployment has risen steadily over the past few months, reaching a 25 year high at 10.1 percent. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, every $1.25 billion spent on transportation creates nearly 35,000 jobs.

The Chicago Federation of Labor has been working toward a capital plan since January. In addition, the Chicago Federation of Labor led the effort with the Illinois Safe Roads Alliance, a group of labor and contractor groups actively supporting a capital bill through a $1 million statewide television and radio campaign. 

“With so much bad news about the economy to report, this is finally a bright spot to look forward to,” added Gannon.  “The quicker we get this program into action, the quicker we can begin to pull the state and its working families out of economic turmoil.  We must get started on shovel-ready projects during the remaining construction season this year and begin right away the preparations to make next year’s season productive and fruitful.”