Successful Back to School Supply Drive
This month we concluded another successful school supply drive! Our annual event, which donates school supplies to those in need through Joanie’s Closet and other local organizations, brought out countless donations once again. Through these schools supplies we are able to help students in need head back to school, fully prepared for the new year—and it’s all due to your help! Thanks to everyone who donated, it truly makes a difference.
Advocating for Businesses
I was recently recognized from the Illinois Technology and Manufacturing Association; I was given a high rating on the association’s “scorecard” as an advocate for small and mid-sized businesses, which was based on my voting record in the General Assembly.
This is an honor and incredibly motivating; I will continue to be an advocate for businesses—especially the incredible mid-and small size businesses we have here in the 51st District community.
IDOT Funding to the 51st District
The Illinois Department of Transportation recently released its updated six-year plan with designated funding for transit projects throughout the state. IDOT’s Highway Improvement Program includes $24.6 billion for road projects starting next year and extending through 2028, made possible by the comprehensive Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan approved by the state legislature. The plan will reconstruct nearly 2,779 more miles of roads and 7.9 million square feet of bridge across Illinois.
I am proud to report that the 51st District will be receiving significant funding: over $114 million in funding for 20 different projects dedicated towards improving area highways over the next few years, starting in 2023. Some of the projects involve highway road repairs, road reconstruction, and bridge replacements. The entire breakdown of the projects is here.
Rail Safety Week
Every year, more than 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured because of unsafe behaviour around tracks and trains. All of these incidents and deaths are preventable, which is why Rail Safety Week is so important. This year’s Rail Safety Week will be held in from September 19 – 25, 2022.
Operation Lifesaver Inc, and its partners, created Rail Safety Week in 2003 to raise public awareness of the potential dangers at highway/railway crossings and from trespassing on railway property. Since that time, significant progress has been made in informing people and communities about incidents and fatalities related to dangerous behaviour around railway tracks. When it comes to safety, it’s worth doing all we can to help protect our friends, family, and those we care about, which is why I want to emphasize this safety information:
In latest violation of Move Over Law, an Illinois State Police trooper was injured and hospitalized. The traffic collision, which occurred on August 12 on I-355, was the fifteenth violation of the Illinois’ Move Over Law upon a State Police squad car so far in 2022. The Move Over Law is often called “Scott’s Law” by first responders in honor of Scott Gillen, a lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department. In a DUI-related incident, Gillen was killed on duty on the Dan Ryan Expressway on December 23, 2000.
It’s critical that we all do better to make “slowing down and moving over” a priority as we travel throughout our state and our communities. The Illinois State Police are also doing their best to urge all Illinois motorists to pay attention and move over when approaching any stationary vehicle on the side of the road. This is intensified for first responders, especially first-responder vehicles that have their lights flashing on active duty as was the case in the I-355 incident.
Violations of Scott’s Law can result in substantial fines and restrictions of driving privileges. Furthermore, a violation of Scott’s Law that causes injuries or death is a Class 4 felony (1 to 3 years in State prison).
New Grant Opportunity!
Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is launching a new grant program. This is a fantastic opportunity for communities in our area, and for those across the state, to develop and enhance tourism attractions and special events. I would encourage you to help spread this news! We have so much to offer in and around the 51st District, I want to get the word out about this opportunity:
- What: The Tourism Attraction and Festivals Grant program will help develop new or enhance existing tourism attractions located across the state – including but not limited to museums, state parks, historical sites, events, performances, and festivals. The funds may be utilized for capital projects, equipment, training, transportation, housing, receptions, entertainment, photography, temporary housing, and interpretive programs. The goal of the program is to attract additional visitors and overnight stays that will bring foot traffic to communities across Illinois.
- Potential Applicants: Units of local government, nonprofits, local promotion groups, and businesses.
- How Much: $15 million total. $5 million for festivals and events, and $10 million for attractions. Awards range from $15,000 to $500,000. Matching not required for nonprofits and local governments, but preference will be given to those providing matching funds. 75% match required for businesses.
- Deadline: September 23rd, 2022
- Apply: Information can be found HERE.