Construction will begin in the current fiscal year

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SPRINGFIELD - The City of Springfield is one step closer to achieving a centralized public transportation hub following the announcement of a $41 million state contribution earmarked for the Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Center, advanced in the General Assembly by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

The landmark investment is part of the state’s latest Multi-Year Plan under Rebuild Illinois.

“This is a transformational investment in Springfield’s future, especially for East Side residents. The plan will make everyday commutes shorter, safer and more efficient for Springfield drivers and residents using all modes of public transportation,” Manar said. “In addition to modernizing our transit system, the project will boost economic development in a neighborhood that has lacked investment in recent years. I was proud to champion this effort in the General Assembly, and I look forward to continuing to support the Springfield rail consolidation project as a whole.”

The Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Center will combine Springfield Mass Transit District buses, the Amtrak station, intercity buses, paratransit vehicles and taxis at one location along the Tenth Street corridor with an adjacent parking garage.

The project is a component of the Springfield Rail Improvement Project – a cooperative venture of IDOT, Sangamon County and the City of Springfield – to finalize long-awaited plans aimed at reducing train-related traffic stoppages that will improve public safety while upgrading the high-speed commercial rail service between Chicago and St. Louis that passes through Springfield.

The project will ultimately relocate all passenger and freight traffic from Third Street to the Tenth Street rail line, consolidating them into one common corridor. It will also construct new underpasses and one overpass at critical rail crossings on the Tenth Street and 19th Street corridors in order to reduce street-level rail crossings.

Set to begin in the current fiscal year, construction for the Transportation Center is to be completed in 2025 based on projections according to consulting firm Hanson Professional Services, Inc.

“Transportation systems can be a driving factor in any city’s growth or decline,” Manar said. “I appreciate the state, local, and federal leaders who share my vision for Springfield and are committed to seeing it through.”

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 SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Medicaid recipients are now eligible for life-saving clinical trials to treat cancer and other serious diseases.

This afternoon, Governor Pritzker enacted Senate Bill 1864, a health care package that includes a proposal by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) requiring the state’s Medicaid program to cover routine care costs incurred for an approved clinical trial involving the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or any other life-threatening disease, as long as Medicaid would normally cover those same routine care costs for a non-clinical procedure.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that this law will save lives. For too long, some people were granted access to the most advanced and potentially life-saving cancer treatment, and others weren’t, simply depending on which insurance plan they had. That injustice ended today,” Manar said. “I appreciate Governor Pritzker’s demonstrated commitment to advancing equity in health care.”

Initially introduced and carried through the Senate by Manar, the initiative was included in a broader health care package passed by the General Assembly during the abbreviated special session in May.

More than 20% of Illinoisans are covered by Medicaid, making it the second largest type of insurance behind Medicare.

Medicare and private insurance carriers are already required to provide coverage for routine care costs in clinical trial participation. Medicaid is not. This legislation would align Medicaid coverage for clinical trials with coverage under those insurance plans.

Because routine costs would be paid for by Medicaid if the patient were not on a clinical trial, there is minimal cost difference for Medicaid to cover these costs within a clinical trial.

Manar worked closely with the American Cancer Society to draft the proposal.

“The state has taken an important step to ensure the viability of new cancer research in our state and to allow an additional 20% of Illinois residents to have access to the latest treatments and therapies,” said Shana Crews, Government Relations Director at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We look forward to working with state leaders to further reduce Illinois’ cancer burden.”

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SenManarApril2019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) has been appointed to the bipartisan Illinois Legislative Budget Oversight Commission, which is charged with monitoring discretionary spending by the governor’s office and local governments related to the new state budget and federal relief funding.

“The unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to create unprecedented challenges to our state budget and the way we conduct business, which requires us to find unconventional ways of providing heightened oversight and accountability,” Manar said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure that federal and state funds issued in response to COVID-19 are used in the best interest of public health and the economic recovery of families and small businesses.”

The commission will provide a means of open communication regarding budgetary matters between the legislature and the governor’s office, and examine distribution and expenditure of federal financial relief related to the COVID-19 by state and local governments.

Beginning in August, the governor’s office will be required to issue a monthly written report to the commission detailing any discretionary spending or action that is inconsistent with the fiscal year 2021 budget approved by the General Assembly, including any actions that repurposed more than 2% of any budget line.

A representative of the governor’s office will provide a verbal report on these matters to the commission on a quarterly basis in-person, via telephone or videoconference.

At the request of the commission, units of local governments would be required to report on the status of federal funding distributed under the CARES Act.

The 22-member body is made up of Democratic and Republican legislators from both chambers of the General Assembly. Members of the commission will serve without compensation.

The Illinois Legislative Budget Commission was created by Senate Bill 2135.

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STAUNTON - Approximately 9,283 businesses, farms, households, and other institutions in Macoupin and Madison Counties will gain or see improved access to high-speed internet with the help of a $4.2 million broadband expansion grant to Staunton-based Madison Communications, Inc. announced today by Governor JB Pritzker and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

These funds are being released as part of Connect Illinois, the governor’s plan to bring basic access to every community in the state by 2024. This plan aims to improve access through an unprecedented capital investment and with the nation’s largest grant matching program.

"High speed internet is an absolute necessity for economic growth and our ability to deliver high-quality education and health care. For rural families and businesses, the effects of the digital divide have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic," Manar said. "Bold investments in broadband expansion under the Connect Illinois plan are the most impactful steps we can take to strengthen economic viability and secure a promising future for rural communities like those in Macoupin and northern Madison Counties. I appreciate the Pritzker administration’s commitment to closing this disparity in all corners of our state."

Marking the first round of Connect Illinois grants, the $50 million in total investments announced today will be matched by $65 million in non-state funds to support 28 projects across Illinois. They are expected to expand internet access to more than 26,000 homes, businesses, farms, and community institutions.

“Connect Illinois is about the right of all our communities to access health care, education, and economic opportunity – because in the 21st century, all those rights are tied to digital connectivity,” Pritzker said. “The unacceptable consequences of disparities in broadband access were clear before the COVID-19 pandemic – and over the last few months, we’ve seen firsthand what it means when a small business that had to close its doors has no online shop, what it means when an elderly couple has no safe way to get medical advice at a distance, what it means when a child has no ability to access homework assignments online. This work has never been more urgent – the disadvantages that persist when our communities are left out of opportunity demand ambitious efforts to bring them to a close.”

The Connect Illinois plan responds to the needs of key industries and business sectors that lack reliable, affordable internet access due to a number of factors, including their location. Farm and agriculture is one of those sectors – with an estimated 40% of farmers in Illinois underserved or completely unserved by reliable internet access.

The state’s largest-ever broadband expansion initiative, Connect Illinois includes a $400 million broadband grant program and a $20 million capital program for the Illinois Century Network, a high-speed broadband network serving K-12 and higher education institutions, among others.

Another round of Connect Illinois grants is expected to be released later this year. More information on these and other grant programs can be found on DCEO’s website.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are applauding PNC Financial Services’ decision to reverse plans to shutter its branch on Springfield’s East Side.

“I appreciate that PNC’s leadership team listened to our concerns and will continue serving the East Side. The damaging effects that branch closures have on families and businesses is well-documented and both a contributor to and a reflection of widening racial wealth inequality,” Manar said. “We can’t begin to address the immense economic disparities facing our state and country when banks are leaving underserved communities and predatory lenders are setting up shop.”

PNC Financial Services’ Pittsburg-based government affairs office notified Manar by email last week that the branch at 802 S. 11th St. would close in September.

Manar immediately contacted PNC’s government affairs director to urge the bank’s leadership to rethink the decision, given the economic impact on customers and the community.

Manar then contacted Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, who also made calls to demand the branch remain open.

“Access to capital is critical for small business, and that’s especially true for Black-owned businesses that may have fewer options in their communities due to the closure of major bank branches,” Durbin said. “Without lending partners, entrepreneurship is starved of oxygen and turns towards predatory lenders that charge exorbitant fees and trap people in an endless cycle of debt from which it is nearly impossible to emerge. I’m glad to hear that the bank will continue to serve the community and I thank Senator Manar for his leadership on this issue.”

The 11th Street branch is one of few remaining banks serving Springfield’s East Side. Numerous other financial institutions have shuttered their facilities, reflecting a national trend of banks abandoning majority-Black neighborhoods.

“I’m proud that we, along with Senator Durbin, called for the continuation of this essential service,” Duckworth said. “I’m pleased that PNC has decided to keep their location on Springfield’s East Side open and will continue serving constituents there.”

A 2019 study published in the American Economic Journal found that even when there are other banks located within a few miles, branch closures in low-income and minority neighborhoods result in drastic declines in credit supply and opportunity for nearby small businesses.

“Springfield's East Side PNC branch is a trusted and valuable economic cornerstone for the community and has assisted in the building of new residential and business properties, leading to a more vibrant community,” said Springfield Ward 3 Alderwoman Doris Turner. “It provides banking near residents, and its closure would have certainly led to a financial desert and an extremely negative impact upon this community.”

An analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence found that majority-Black communities with positive economic trends lost more of their branches than non-Black communities with negative trends.

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Contact Me

Springfield Office:
119A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228

Decatur Office:
Macon County Office Building
141 S. Main St., Suite 502
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: (217) 429-8110

Bunker Hill Office:
115 N. Washington, P.O. Box 636
Bunker Hill, IL 62014
Phone: (618) 585-4848