CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD) – The Rebuild Illinois program is ongoing since its implementation in 2019. Wednesday, the House Transportation: Roads & Bridges Committee had a hearing to discuss the financials of the program going forward.
Since Rebuild Illinois started, $7.3 billion has been allocated specifically to the Roads & Bridges category, according to hearing witness Becky Locker.
The hearing addressed IDOT’s performance regarding the Infrastructure Delivery and Program Transparency Act, or House Bill 5262.
The summary of the bill, according to LegiScan, is as follows: “Creates the Infrastructure Delivery and Program Transparency Act. Provides for the creation of an Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation to administer the Rebuild Illinois Program. Provides that the Office of the Secretary of Transportation shall develop a publicly available project information website that includes detailed information about each infrastructure project. Provides that the Coordinator shall track and make publicly available a master program, budget, and construction schedule and program metrics. Provides that after a review of the program metrics, the Coordinator shall implement improvements to the Rebuild Illinois Program in accordance with the established overall program budget and project schedule. Provides that the Department of Transportation and the Coordinator shall implement certain initiatives to assist the Department with meeting program goals.”
The full text of HB 5262 can be found here.
Holly Bieneman with IDOT is responsible for implementing HB0253, enacted last year, which mandates IDOT to establish a transportation performance program.
There is a perception IDOT is behind schedule in releasing projects and getting them done, committee members said. The hearing discussed what plans are in place from IDOT to get back on track.
Legislators said there is a “lack of commitment” from IDOT.
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-) said the transit work from IDOT is “abysmal.” She lamented that it is hard to trust IDOT to be a reliable partner with the committee.
Locker said in response that they have been making progress, contradicting the accusations of legislators.
State Rep. Williams asked Locker how many of IDOT’s contractors are Black. He wanted to know how much of the department’s $7.3 billion went to Black companies and employees.
The hearing then switched gears to discuss HB 4389.
State Rep. Martin Moylan (D-Des Plaines) introduced the bill, which incentivizes Illinois’ trucking to go electric.
Representatives from Sysco spoke at the hearing, claiming the bill would take them a long way in electrifying their fleets.
According to the Sysco representatives, replacing one diesel truck with a heavy-duty electric truck would save emissions from roughly 10 passenger cars.
Also in support of HB 4389, according to a representative, is Advanced Energy Economy.
“Electric vehicles are an important part of Illinois’ future,” said Donovan Griffith, Executive Director of Government Affairs, Illinois Manufacturer’s Association.