Omer Osman

The Illinois Department of Transportation is in the midst of the most challenging, most exciting time in its history.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit this spring, IDOT has kept its focus on keeping the state’s infrastructure in good, safe condition.

Under the leadership of Gov. JB Pritzker, we have not once wavered in that responsibility.

We have been open for business at all times, with a focus on the mission of maintaining a reliable system of transportation for Illinois, while putting in place safety precautions for employees, contractors and the public.

Our roads and bridges have remained open and will stay open.

Projects have continued uninterrupted.

Maintenance and operations staff have stayed on duty throughout the state, at times working with frontline responders to get personal protective equipment and medical supplies where they were needed most.

Our rest areas have been open and undergoing frequent cleanings, continuing to provide a vital resource for the trucking industry and the traveling public.

During this unprecedented time, we have gone above and beyond, continuing to do great things that will impact Illinois for generations to come.

We can trace much of our ability to keep delivering for the people of our state to Rebuild Illinois, the historic, bipartisan capital plan passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pritzker in 2019.

Investing a total of $33.2 billion over a period of six years into our robust, but aging, transportation system, Rebuild Illinois was the game changer Illinois desperately needed.

As projects are coming to life this construction season across all our modes of transportation – roads and bridges, transit, ports, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations – we are reminded that sustained, long-term investments in infrastructure keep the economy moving and soften the boom and bust cycle.

And there’s more to come.

In July, IDOT released its new multiyear plan for roads and bridges, an ambitious blueprint fueled by Rebuild Illinois. We’re going to be busy these next six years, looking to improve more than 3,300 miles of road and 8 million square feet of bridges. More importantly, we are creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans across our state.

A cornerstone of the governor’s capital program is making sure our counties, townships and municipalities also have the resources they need to keep their infrastructure in safe and reliable condition. In recent weeks, IDOT made the second of six $250 million installments to local governments at a time when their revenues are down and the future of many of their projects is uncertain.

In the coming weeks, we look to outline more plans for ways to improve airports, passenger rail, ports and community projects that enhance both local transportation and quality of life.

The examples go on and on.

Over and over again, we are reminded that Illinois is the transportation hub of the nation.

With that distinction comes a huge responsibility, one that IDOT is prepared to meet while making sure we are providing the essential services you need every day.

Omer Osman is the acting Illinois Transportation Secretary and an employee of IDOT for more than 30 years.

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