Pritzker Administration announces $25 million fast-track grants for infrastructure projects

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“Rebuild Illinois” dollars will support infrastructure projects and construction jobs in the wake of COVID-19

information provided by the Office of the Governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 15, 2020) – Earlier this week Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced Fast-Track Public Infrastructure Grants, an initiative to accelerate work on planned public infrastructure projects around the state. The State is expediting $25 million of existing Rebuild Illinois funding to local public infrastructure projects that are ready to begin work this summer, as many local governments face lost revenues, impacting their ability to finance these projects.

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.

Governor Pritzker said, “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. Starting today [May 12], local governments with shovel ready projects—including school districts, townships, and other entities—can apply for this funding.”

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. Fast-Track frontloads 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 underserved areas to be given priority.

The Fast-Track grants will help restore key public works projects that may have otherwise been cancelled and will help skilled labor return to the job in time for the construction season. Funds can be used to support projects such as expansions of water and sewer systems and reinvestment to modernize schools and other public buildings.

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. Fast-Track projects must meet shovel-ready criteria, as well as the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois’ Business Enterprise Program. The online application is available at https://bit.ly/2xqjOad.

These Fast Track grants accelerate a portion of an ongoing $50 million Notice of Funding Opportunity for public infrastructure. Communities that need more time or that do not have projects that meet the shovel-ready criteria may submit an application to receive a grant for the remainder of the funds by June 30.

Source funding for the Fast Track grants is generated by Rebuild Illinois—a $45 billion plan passed by Governor Pritzker to provide the state’s first comprehensive capital plan in more than a decade. DCEO has been charged with spearheading a number of Rebuild Illinois programs, including investments to expand broadband capacity, fund new public works projects, incentivize business development, and other initiatives designed to promote economic growth for all communities across the state.

The Fast Track grants program is one of a number of economic assistance initiatives designed by DCEO to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic—with relief programs making more than $100 million available to Illinois communities in response to COVID-19. These emergency relief initiatives include the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, Emergency Hospitality Grants, the Emergency Small Business Loan Fund, and other targeted assistance to serve businesses and communities with the greatest needs.

DCEO will conduct a series of webinars and outreach to local governments to provide information on the new Fast Track grants. A list of upcoming webinars as well as a list of resources available to small businesses is available on DCEO’s website.