Governor Quinn Expands Green Transportation Program on Illinois’ Highways
‘Bus on Shoulders’ Program Made Permanent and Will Now Transport Even More People Over More Illinois Highways
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to expand the innovative ‘Bus on Shoulders’ program and make Illinois’ highways more environmentally-friendly, efficient and accessible. The legislation is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to drive Illinois’ economy forward and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois’ infrastructure.
“Bus on Shoulders has proven to be a creative approach and a green solution to cut down on commuting times, encourage the use of mass transit and improve access to jobs,” Governor Quinn said. “By making minimal investments in our existing infrastructure, we are providing big dividends for commuters and families throughout the region.”
House Bill 5664, sponsored by State Representative Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) and State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), makes permanent the successful ‘Bus on Shoulders’ pilot program and paves the way for the popular Pace service to expand to other parts of the Chicago expressway system as well as the Illinois Tollway.
Since Governor Quinn launched the program as an experimental service in 2011, ridership has jumped by 226 percent and on-time performance has dramatically improved on the Pace routes that utilize the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55) shoulders during heavy congestion.
As part of Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, $9.5 million was allocated in 2011 to upgrade and prepare the I-55 shoulders to enable Pace routes 755 and 855, which connect the southwest suburbs, downtown Chicago and the Illinois Medical District, to use the inside inbound shoulder for the morning rush hour and inside outbound shoulder for the afternoon return trip. Also for the first time in the Chicago area, the Pace buses on these routes offered free Wi-Fi service. Since Governor Quinn launched Bus on Shoulders, average daily ridership on both Pace routes has grown from 302 to 985, with on-time performance jumping from 68 percent to 93 percent.
“When we began this project in 2011, we set out to do three things: increase ridership, improve on-time performance and operate safely,” Pace Chairman of the Board Richard Kwasneski said. “We've achieved all of these benchmarks and are grateful to Governor Quinn, the General Assembly, our project partners IDOT and RTA and our customers for their support throughout the planning and implementation process. Thanks to this legislation, we can take what we have learned on I-55 and bring express bus service to the shoulders of other highways and tollways in the region.”
In addition to making Bus on Shoulders a long-term solution to meeting the region’s highway and mass transit needs, the new law permits Pace to expand the program and include more routes. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is investing $362,631 to improve the shoulders from Kedzie Avenue to just west of the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate 90/94) so the existing service on I-55 can be extended approximately three miles east later this year. The department expects to complete a study by fall that will determine the scope of improvements needed to enable Pace to use the shoulders between Foster Avenue and Lake-Cook Road on the Edens Expressway (Interstate 94).
“This is an idea whose time has come,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren said. “We at IDOT have enjoyed a productive partnership with Pace during the start of Bus on Shoulders. We look forward to working together far into the future as we continue exploring new and innovative ways to build a world-class transportation system for the Chicago area.”
The Illinois Tollway’s $2.5 billion rebuild and widening of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90) will include wider shoulders to accommodate Pace buses from the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) to Barrington Road in 2016 and future service expansions to Rockford. As part of the 15-year, $12 billion Move Illinois Program, the project includes $240 million to integrate transit on I-90 in partnership with Pace. This investment marks the first time the in the Illinois Tollway’s history that the agency has built one of its roads specifically to accommodate transit. The Tollway also is designing the new Elgin O’Hare Western Access project to accommodate Bus on Shoulders.
“We know we can’t build our way out of congestion and that’s why we designed the new Jane Addams Memorial Tollway to accommodate transit and provide direct access to Pace bus service,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. “By following Governor Quinn’s vision to integrate transit into our state’s roadways, we are maximizing our existing assets to meet the demand for safe and efficient travel on our roads now and into the future.”
Under the permanent program, buses will continue to use the shoulders as a passing lane only when traffic is moving slower than 35 mph. They are restricted to traveling no more than 15 mph over the top speed of vehicles in the expressway lanes and never greater than 35 mph. Pace cannot use the shoulders if they are already being used for snow removal, vehicle breakdowns and traffic stops by law enforcement. Safety always will be a top priority of the program. The shoulders will always be available to motorists in the event of an emergency.
Governor Quinn Announces Innovative Swedish-Based Manufacturer to Expand in Naperville; SKF Group Creating 80 Jobs, Investing $18.6 Million in Research Center
CHICAGO — Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Swedish-based SKF Group has selected Illinois for its new North American research and development facility, which will create 40 full-time jobs within two years and another 40 within four years. The company chose a site in Naperville over locations in several other states. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“SKF Group has a long history of providing quality technology products and services all over the world,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois is making a comeback and innovative companies like SKF are an important part of it. We are proud SKF has chosen to open this new facility and create jobs for Illinois’ highly-skilled and educated workforce.”
“One of SKF’s driving forces is to continue to deliver world-leading research and innovation and to develop products which deliver significant energy savings for our customers,” SKF President and CEO Tom Johnstone said. “This newest center supports our growth ambitions for the U.S. and the investments of over $2.5 billion that we have made during the past five years. The Naperville-based R&D center will strengthen our global network of technical centers that support each of our key regions. It provides a central location to some of our most significant U.S. customers, proximity to many local world class research universities and a highly-educated workforce that is critical to our knowledge engineering efforts.”
The new 130,000-square-foot facility will be built for SKF at 1203 Warrenville Road—along the Interstate 88 business corridor—and will house engineers, scientists and administrative staff. The company selected Naperville in order to access the state’s superior transportation network, highly-educated workforce, culture of entrepreneurship and competitive cost structure.
Factoring into the company’s decision was a state incentive package worth an estimated $2.2 million over 10 years. The incentive is primarily a credit against the company’s state income tax liability under the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE program. The package also includes a $20,000 grant for job training. The EDGE program, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), requires companies to meet agreed-upon targets for job creation or retention and capital investment in order to receive the credits. The agreement with SKF USA requires the company to invest at least $18.6 million at its Naperville location over the next 10 years.
While the legal commitment to the state is for a minimum of 80 new jobs within four years, SKF said the facility eventually might have up to 200 employees.
“We are grateful for the trust SKF has placed in the state of Illinois,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. “With our investments in our people and infrastructure, we want to make Illinois an easy choice for employers looking to expand their skilled labor force.”
SKF USA Inc. is the United States subsidiary of the SKF Group of Gothenburg, Sweden and is based in Lansdale, PA. SKF Group is a leading global provider of bearings, seals, lubrication systems and industrial services and consulting covering every major business sector including transportation, paper, mining, oil and gas, food and beverages, machine tool, metals, and aerospace and energy.
Illinois is already home to two SKF manufacturing facilities, including one in Elgin since 1960, and the other in Waukegan since 2009. SKF employs about 390 people at the two locations.
For more information on doing business in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/dceo.
Governor Quinn Signs “Sign and Drive” Law; Legislation Ends the Practice of Posting a Driver’s License for Traffic Citations
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law to end the practice of posting a valid driver‘s license as security for traffic citations in Illinois. Today’s action on the “Sign and Drive” law continues the Governor’s commitment to making Illinois government more accountable, transparent and effective.
“A driver’s license is an important form of identification, and without it many residents may run into problems during everyday situations when a valid ID is required,” Governor Quinn said. “This common sense legislation will allow law enforcement officials to continue doing their jobs while letting motorists hang onto a vital piece of identification. ‘Sign and Drive’ will help ensure motorists comply with the law and keep traffic moving on our streets.”
Senate Bill 2583, sponsored by State Senator Michael Noland (D-Elgin) and State Representative John D’Amico (D-Chicago), eliminates the requirement that a valid driver’s license must be posted as bail for certain traffic offenses. The new law allows a motorist’s signature on the citation to be their guarantee that they will comply with the terms of the citation and either appear in court or pay the required fine. As before, the Secretary of State can suspend the driving privileges of any motorist who does not comply with the citation. The legislation is effective immediately.
“No longer will motorists be inconvenienced by having to give up their driver’s license for nothing more than a moving violation,” Senator Noland said. “With this bill, Illinois drivers will be able to keep their driver’s license which is used as a primary form of identification for receiving services related to banking, travel, education and more. Now, with just their signature, drivers in Illinois can pay their fines online or by mail, appear if necessary, but keep their license as long as their fine is paid. This will save on time away from work, family matters and other more important activities of everyday life in Illinois. It will also make it less costly to process the ever increasing number of cases coming into our traffic courts. This bill is a win-win for our courts and our citizens. Safe travels to all."
“Senate Bill 2583 is a piece of commonsense legislation aimed at cutting down on the instances of identification misuse or misplacement,” Representative D’Amico said. “This bill will get our safe drivers back on the road and keep our state moving forward.”
Governor Quinn has supported and developed programs and signed legislation to make travel on Illinois roadways safer and more convenient. Last year he signed legislation to prohibit the use of all hand-held mobile phones while driving on Illinois roads and to increase the penalties where any use of an electronic device while driving is the cause of an accident. This summer, Governor Quinn signed legislation to prohibit municipalities from requiring police officers to meet ticket quotas and to prevent quotas from being used to evaluate an officer’s performance.
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Support Illinois’ Military Families; New Law Offers Gold Star License Plates to Children of Fallen Servicemembers
ROCKFORD – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to allow the children of fallen servicemembers apply for Gold Star license plates. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to support Illinois’ military families.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to all the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country,” Governor Quinn said. “We are proud of all Illinois military families for their continued support while their loved ones have answered the call to duty. The Gold Star license plates serve as a small but constant reminder of all those who have given everything to protect our freedoms here at home.”
House Bill 5475, sponsored by State Representative John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), allows the sons and daughters of fallen servicemembers to apply for Gold Star license plates. Spouses, siblings or parents of persons who have lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces may already apply for these special plates. The law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.
The Gold Star is distributed to members of the immediate family of a fallen servicemember by the U.S. Department of Defense. The pin is distributed according to strict Department of Defense guidelines for servicemembers who have lost their lives in conflict or in support of certain military operations.
"Fallen military men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms that we enjoy today,” Representative Cabello said. “Their families deserve our highest levels of support and respect. My hope is that these Gold Star license plates will provide an added way for these sons and daughters to be recognized for their sacrifice and the sacrifice and service of their loved one.”
“A Gold Star shows that a loved one made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country,” Senator Syverson said. “This will allow their children to keep the memory of their heroic actions alive for all to see.”
Throughout his career, Governor Quinn has made commitment to veterans, servicemembers and their families a top priority. As lieutenant governor, he launched the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund that provides benefits for families of Illinois National Guard and Reserve servicemembers who are called to action during global conflict. Since its inception in 2003, the IMFRF has provided more than $15.4 million in support of 28,840 families of deployed servicemembers.
Governor Quinn recently signed a law to make it easier for the children of Illinois servicemembers to enroll in Illinois schools. He initiated the Illinois Veterans Grant and Illinois National Guard Grant, which cover tuition at all Illinois public universities and community colleges for eligible veterans and serving National Guard members. He also required colleges to post all benefits available to Illinois veterans and assign a staff member to serve as the point of contact for student-veterans who need information and assistance.
The Governor also launched the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program that helps veterans transition back to their daily lives and the Welcome Home Heroes program which helps support Illinois servicemembers seeking home ownership. In total, the state has targeted $20 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds to the Welcome Home Heroes program to help increase affordable homeownership opportunities for military veterans and their families.
In 2012, Governor Quinn and the Departments of Veterans and Military Affairs spearheaded the statewide public-private partnership, Illinois Joining Forces, which has been a model for other states to follow. The program Families, Children, and Survivors Working Group has been effectively collaborating to make sure Illinois is addressing the needs of military families and children here in Illinois.
Governor Quinn Statement on Jackie Robinson West Little League Team
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on the Jackie Robinson West Little League team’s regional championship victory. The Chicago South Side team will now head to Williamsport, Pa. to compete in the Little League World Series.
“With power and poise, this group of young ballplayers has outperformed opponents across the state, region and now they have their eyes, gloves and hearts set on a bigger field.
“Last year, Jackie Robinson West came one game short of the big tournament. As underdogs they achieved so much that I declared it ‘Jackie Robinson West Little League Champions Day’ across Illinois.
“Like Jackie Robinson, they didn’t hang up their cleats in the face of adversity. Now this year for the first time since 1983, they will get to compete in the Little League World Series.
“This group of young ballplayers and their coaches have made all of Illinois proud. I wish them the best of luck as they represent our state on the worldwide stage.”