020613js  0077rSPRINGFIELD – Central Illinois will have a greater ability to utilize one of Illinois’ most effective economic development tools, if a bipartisan measure sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D – Bunker Hill) is approved by the House. Senate Bill 1251, which grants the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority the same ability to create Enterprise Zones as many other regional economic development authorities across the state, passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

“Illinois’ Enterprise Zone Program has a proven record of creating and retaining jobs in other downstate communities,” said Manar. “It’s important that communities here in Central Illinois have the same opportunities to tap this important job creation tool.”

The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program was in danger of expiring until the General Assembly passed an extension last year. The program is credited with creating nearly 900,000 jobs and generating nearly $50 billion in investments over the past 30 years.

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Manar Senate FloorrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) secured nearly $44 million in construction projects in Macon County that will bring much-needed jobs to the Decatur area as well as address critical infrastructure needs.

“A few months ago, Representative Scherer and I met with local officials and residents to discuss infrastructure needs in the Decatur area,” Manar said. “We were given a list of projects and told that several of the projects were a matter of public safety. When we heard that, we knew we had to make them a priority.”

"With unemployment rates at staggering levels, I believe it’s key that we come together to move vital projects forward that create quality jobs while ensuring that local infrastructure can handle current and future demand," said Scherer. "I appreciate working with Sen. Manar to identify local needs and address them in an efficient way, and we will continue to find ways to be responsive to the needs of our Central Illinois communities."

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Manar Senate FloorrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) secured nearly $21 million in construction projects in Macoupin County that will bring much-needed jobs to the area as well as address critical infrastructure needs.

“These improvements will benefit both businesses and residents in Macoupin County,” Manar said. “These funds will help to address some major infrastructure needs as well as create new construction jobs.”

The construction projects are part of six-year, $12.62 billion construction program by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) that will improve roads and bridges throughout Illinois while making major investments in public transportation. The plan includes $7.2 billion in anticipated federal funds, $1.9 billion in state funds and the remainder from local and other sources.

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Manar Unemployment HearingrEAST ALTON – Community leaders, business officials and economic experts from across downstate Illinois testified during a Senate hearing Monday regarding historic pockets of unemployment plaguing the region and how the state can better address the lingering need for jobs.

“Illinois is home to some of the most successful businesses in the world, but at the same time there are communities throughout our state that have seen nearly a decade of high unemployment,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who’s organized similar hearings across the state. “We need an economic development strategy that not only enhances our successes, but also targets areas in need of assistance.”

Local and regional economic development boards and associations are often spokespersons for the state when businesses look to expand or relocate to Illinois. Monica Bristow, President of the RiverBend Growth Association, echoed the need for a state-wide economic development plan stating, “It would help from a marketing standpoint if we could present a state-wide plan or strategy to businesses interested in expanding or moving to Illinois,” Bristow said. “We need a uniform plan that we can point to.”

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