Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly recently approved Public Act (PA) 101-0638, a capital infrastructure fund within the State’s proposed 2021 fiscal year budget package. This action is a crucial step in the process that could bring millions of dollars to Lake County for projects that will reduce flooding, improve roads, ease traffic congestion, and improve homeless service facilities.
PA 101-0638 includes more than $195 million for critical infrastructure projects in Lake County and puts Lake County on track to begin the discussion of how and when these projects will be implemented.
Highlights of the Public Act include:
- $122 million for regional stormwater management projects to reduce flood damages and restore and enhance the natural drainage system
- $10 million to the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless for the acquisition and renovation of homeless service facilities
- $30 million for the grade separation at the IL 120 and IL 83 railroad tracks
- $13 million to improve the intersection at Gilmer and Midlothian Road
- $4 million for the grade separation at Old McHenry Road. These funds could potentially be used to help fund early engineering work
- $2.6 million for drainage improvements in Park City
- $140,000 to renovate the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center
Over the last few years, Lake County has been experiencing more frequent and stronger rainfall events, which has resulted in increased flooding countywide. There has been an impact on storm sewer and detention design, floodplains, building protection, wetland requirements, and much more. With Lake County receiving between 20 and 45 percent more rain according to the Illinois State Water Survey, flood prevention measures, such as detention basins and storm sewers, will need expanded capacities, which leads to an increased cost of construction.
The Chicago region just eclipsed record-setting rainfall numbers for the third year in a row during the month of May. Last month, Lake County received between 3.7 and 8 inches of rain in an eight-day period, which caused flooding to homes and businesses throughout the county.
PA 101-0638 adds to the $325 million already committed to Lake County for new road projects as outlined in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) proposed 2020-2025 Highway Improvement Program.
Lake County has worked closely with IDOT and its state elected officials to advance projects outlined in the State Highway Consensus Plan for Lake County, which includes a number of regionally beneficial transportation projects, road maintenance, bridge replacement and rehabilitation, and many other improvements to relieve traffic congestion.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to negatively impact local revenue used to fund transportation, which includes the State motor fuel tax, the County’s share of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) 1/4% sales tax dedicated to transportation, and property tax based funds. The intersection improvement at Gilmer and Midlothian Road was in jeopardy of getting delayed but now can move forward to construction because of the recent funding from the State.