Prairie State Wire

Prairie State Wire

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Build UP coalition addresses state's infrastructure

State Government

By Kyla Asbury | May 5, 2019


A new coalition launched this week in an effort to try to get focus on vertical infrastructure projects for the proposed capital bill.

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan, taking part in a press conference, said he was proud to be part of the Build UP Illinois Coalition, citing the need for funding for roads, bridges, water projects and others.

"It's been almost 10 years since we've had a capital bill and it's time for another one," Carrigan said.

AJ Wilhelmi, the president and CEO of Illinois Health and Hospital Association, said the people of Illinois are the state's greatest strength and that including vertical infrastructure in the capital bill would allow for struggling hospitals and workers to meet the needs of the people of Illinois.

"The right care provided at the right time and the right setting," Wilhelmi said at the press conference. "This would create good-paying construction jobs in the short term and health care jobs in the long term."

The Build UP Coalition is looking for hospital upgrades and buildings for both college and universities. Carrigan said AFL-CIO union members would partner to support a capital plan that addresses repairs, upgrades and new construction.

Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) aid the coalition is a demonstration of desire for a truly comprehensive capital bill for the state.

"The time is now for us to act," Manar said. "We have 31 days to pass this bill."

Manar said while he knows it is not possible to meet all the infrastructure needs of the entire state with the bill, he believes they can work something out before the General Assembly adjourns at the end of the month. Manar and other senators have been traveling the state over the last several months listening to what educators, medical professionals, universities and other professions want to see in the capital bill. The committee has held, so far, six hearings statewide.

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