October 21, 2020
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Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched the $25 million Fast-Track Public Infrastructure Grants initiative on May 12 to accelerate work on planned public infrastructure projects around the state this summer, as many local governments face lost revenues, impacting their ability to finance these projects.

[Above photo by the Illinois DOT.]

While COVID-19 places a unique economic burden on communities across the state, this shift in grant funding will help accelerate construction on planned infrastructure projects, while helping return skilled labor to work, the governor said in a statement.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker

“This will keep key public infrastructure projects in the pipeline, and support the return of skilled labor to job sites for the busy summer season,” he explained.

The Fast-Track program leverages funding from Rebuild Illinois, the state’s multi-year capital plan, for allocation to shovel-ready projects just in time for the summer construction season, DCEO noted.

Fast-Track also ‘front loads’ a portion of an existing notice of funding, to expedite funds available for grants ranging in size between $500,000 and $5 million. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis, with projects submitted in under-served areas to be given priority, the agency said.

“We recognize the unique challenge and burdens that COVID-19 is placing on us all, and we are taking steps to provide relief to businesses and communities,” added Erin Guthrie, DCEO’s director. “Through the Fast Track Public Infrastructure Grants Program, the administration will provide a much-needed boost for workers across the state as well as the critical infrastructure projects our state depends on.”

Eligible grantees are local governments and other public entities with significant public infrastructure projects that could commence work within 90 days of receiving award notice.

Projects eligible for grant funding must be public assets, must be permanent in nature and must not have recurring project expenses, the governor’s office noted, while also meeting “shovel-ready” criteria and minority business participation requirements of Illinois’ Business Enterprise Program.

editor@aashto.org

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