July 13, 2009

State Capital Program to Provide Nearly $400 Million for Public Schools

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

A five-year statewide capital program will provide the needed money for critical local infrastructure including $400 million for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for school construction, $900 million for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and $41 million for the Chicago Park District (CPD) as well as money for roads and bridges under bill signed by Governor Pat Quinn today, Mayor Richard M. Daley said.

“I want to thank the Governor and the General Assembly for meeting the challenge of passing a capital program that will create jobs, fix our schools and roads, support mass transit and pump new spending into our economy at the very time that we need it most,” Daley said at a bill signing ceremony held by Governor Quinn at Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams, where some of the money will be used to provide for a new roof and energy efficient windows.

“Combined with the federal economic stimulus legislation that has begun to deliver much-needed support to people all across the country, this new state program is a critical step in helping get our economy moving again,” Daley said.

The Mayor pointed out that although the City of Chicago has done a good job investing in its public schools, lack of state funding has hampered the city’s efforts to provide adequate schools across the CPS system.

“All you have to do is look around Marshall High School and see that our children deserve a better learning environment,” said Mayor Daley. “These are the first State Capital dollars CPS has received since we received $100 million in 2003.”

During the past 14 years the City of Chicago has invested more than $5 billion in school construction and repair. In addition the City has built 34 new schools and renovated dozens of others. Fourteen new school buildings are slated to open in 2009 and 2010.

With money received through this program, CPS will repair needed infrastructure inside the schools as well as renovate science labs and sport facilities. The program will also provide for energy efficient windows and doors as well as improvements to ensure that schools comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Daley also said that the bill will help rebuild critical rail infrastructure by pumping an additional $300 million dollars into the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE), which will relieve congestion on our rails and roads throughout northeastern Illinois.

This bill will also provide an additional $400 million for high-speed rail, making Chicago the centerpiece of high-speed rail in the Midwest as well as $150 million for Amtrak service across the state.

“A modern public transportation system is essential to the future of our state, our region and our city. It is vital to our economic security and to our ability to recruit new businesses and create new jobs,” said Mayor Daley. “So this support from the state for mass transit is very welcome.”

With $900 million, the CTA will further reduce slow zones and modernize the system at a time when ridership continues to increase.

The Chicago Park District will also receive $41 million to build new facilities and energy efficient infrastructure, which will enhance valuable recreational space for children and ultimately enhance the quality of life for all Chicagoans.

“There is no doubt that we are in an economic crisis. At every level of government, we have a responsibility to do our part to get the economy back on track,” said Mayor Daley. “This important legislation will create new jobs so that our residents – especially those who have lost their jobs – can get back to work, pay their bills, keep their homes and protect their savings.”

The Mayor thanked Governor Quinn, as well as Senate President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan and all the members of the General Assembly for recognizing the importance of these projects and taking action.

He also thanked organized labor throughout the State for their constant efforts to ensure the capital plan became a reality.

“I am hopeful that the spirit of cooperation demonstrated in the passage of this Capital bill will extend into further discussions to help us through these difficult economic times,” said Daley.