Nearly $5 million in downtown East Moline improvements may come from infrastructure bill

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Runner’s Park in downtown East Moline, an area that may see $4.9 million in new infrastructure investment.

Almost $5 million in improvements to downtown East Moline may come from the recent signing into law of President Biden’s $1-trillion infrastructure bill.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) this week wrote to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, with fellow Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (of suburban Chicago) to urge the governor to prioritize Illinois Member Directed Projects (MDPs) for historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding.

The letter follows an effort by Bustos to secure federal funding for five transportation and infrastructure projects in Northwest and Central Illinois. More than $16 million in funding for these projects was advanced in the House-passed INVEST America Act in June 2021, and these projects are eligible for support allocated in the recently-passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Members sent the letter to further advocate that federal funds that pass through the state be allocated to these projects.

“As we celebrate the enactment of the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), we urge you to prioritize our MDPs for IIJA funding to the maximum extent possible,” the two women House members wrote. “The MDPs we selected represent the best of Illinois and meet many of our communities’ most urgent transportation needs, from Galena to Naperville. Completion of these projects will make our state safer, stronger, greener and more accessible. Local leaders have gone above and beyond to demonstrate deep and wide-ranging community support for these projects, and to ensure they are technically sound and integrated with long-term state and regional planning.”

Five local projects were included in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s INVEST in America Act. The INVEST in America Act is a five-year, $547-billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that includes selected local projects submitted by House members.

Bustos included $4,946,000 in funding to upgrade and enhance the movability and aesthetic appeal of East Moline’s downtown area, while connecting the community with newly redeveloped properties including parks, outdoor concert venues, outdoor dining and gathering spaces and businesses. The project includes upgrades to sidewalks, roads, parking, stormwater systems and signage. 

“Illinois is already investing in its infrastructure at historic levels and is now well-positioned to expand those investments with new federal funding,” Bustos wrote this week to Gov. Pritzker.

“As you know, decades of state and federal underinvestment have left Illinois’s infrastructure in disrepair, undermining our ability to compete economically on the world stage,” the letter says.

“Your administration has tackled this issue straight on with the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, establishing Illinois as a leader on infrastructure revitalization. Now, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will bring nearly $17 billion to Illinois to improve our roads, bridges, highways, public transit, airports, broadband, and more. With the passage of IIJA, we can fast-track the priorities of the Rebuild Illinois Plan by directing this generational federal investment to best meet our state’s infrastructure needs.”

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