infrastructure projectsThe state Department of Transportation today announced a six-year $12.62 billion transportation construction program.  Millions of dollars in federal and state funds will be dedicated to improving roadways and bridges in the 49th District, which incorporates Plainfield, Oswego, Shorewood, Crest Hill and parts of several other cities.

Senator Bertino-Tarrant is very pleased that there is a long term goal for enhancing transportation in and through Will and Kendall Counties.

“Our roads and bridges have not been able to keep up with the increased population and traffic in our area,” Sen. Bertino-Tarrant said.  “Many of our roadways are in desperate need of repair.” 

Nearly 30 new transportation construction projects in and around District 49 are scheduled between 2014 and 2019.  Most notably, the I-80 bridge between Ridge Road and U.S. 30 will be widened and replaced, and I-55 at Weber Road will also be widened and resurfaced.

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041113br0453Senator Bertino-Tarrant passed her first bill out of the Senate this week.

The bill extends the time that the Joliet Park District has to sell a portion of their land connected to a public golf course.  The Joliet Park District was originally granted 5 years to sell the land, however that time has nearly expired and the land has not yet sold.

The Joliet Park District is interested in selling 8 acres of land adjacent to the golf course for the purpose of retail development and then reinvesting the proceeds from the land sale back into the golf course, specifically to improve the club house by adding a banquet facility.

“Improving this facility will create a new venue where local events can be held,” Sen. Bertino-Tarrant said.  “Having such a venue will keep local events within the community and will keep more tax dollars in Joliet; instead of them going to other facilities outside of our city.”

Senator Bertino-Tarrant’s bill passed the Senate without opposition.  Representative Larry Walsh Jr. is now shepherding it through the House of Representatives.

In the lineSenator Bertino-Tarrant is a co-sponsor of legislation that expands the qualifying factors for line-of-duty death compensation to include suicide, in some cases. 

The bill provides that if a mental health professional deems an officer’s self-inflicted injuries were sustained as a direct result of the officer’s active duty service, the officer’s death will be considered a line-of-duty occurrence and the officer’s surviving family will be eligible for line-of-duty death benefits.

“Our public safety officials put their lives on the line every day,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Protecting their families from the effects of a dangerous job is the least we can do to show our appreciation.” 

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041113br0550The month of March marked the launch of a new initiative of the Illinois Reading Council (IRC).  Illinois Reads! is being hailed as “the first ever statewide literacy program spanning all generations.”

While literacy is something that many of us take for granted, the World Literacy Foundation suggests that more than 796 million people worldwide have severely limited reading and writing abilities. Nearly 4 million of them are from right here in Illinoisans. Illinois Reads! is working to change that.

“As a former educator, I understand as well as anyone, the benefits of enthusiasm for reading at an early age and the lifelong benefits that literacy provides,” Sen. Bertino-Tarrant said. 

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