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SPRINGFIELD/DECATUR – The City of Decatur and Sangamon County Mass Transit District were named recipients of a grant to improve local mass transit systems, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced Friday.

Manar, who chairs Senate Appropriations II Committee and serves as lead budget negotiator for the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus, urged the prioritization of mass transit systems in the landmark, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan.

“Too often, quality public transit systems are overlooked and underfunded. The fact of the matter is not everyone is fortunate enough to have regular access to a vehicle, making quality public transportation invaluable,” Manar said. “The coming improvements are the result of working alongside local leaders to assess public transit needs, taking those needs to the Capitol and ensuring their inclusion in the state budget.”

The City of Decatur will receive $1.1 million and Sangamon County Mass Transit District will receive $3.5 million for new or renovated busses, transit stations and maintenance facilities. This is the first of three grant cycles for mass transit projects through the Rebuild Illinois plan, with the next two set to occur in 2021 and 2023.

“Our mass transit system primarily serves our more vulnerable population, and we strive to make it the most efficient, comfortable and safe service possible,” Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said. “We appreciate Senator Manar’s efforts to help us fund needed improvements, and this grant assists us tremendously.”

"This is an extremely exciting opportunity for Springfield. Public transportation is a strong contributor to the lifeblood of a community and these grant funds will serve to empower people to live independently and remain self-sufficient,” Alderwoman Doris Turner said. “For those who rely on public transportation, these funds will provide safe reliable transportation that will allow them to get to work, school, to the grocery store or doctor’s office, or just to visit friends."

“To see investment into our public transit shows a heart for the everyday person pursuing the American dream,” Alderman Shawn Gregory said. “Our Public transportation system has always been vital to my community and I am beyond pleased to work with Senator Manar and our local officials on behalf of the everyday person.”

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ASSUMPTION – To improve the city’s water system, Assumption has been named a recipient of a low-interest $877,249 loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s State Revolving Fund, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced Thursday.

Manar, who chairs the Senate Appropriations II Committee and serves as a lead budget negotiator for the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus, advocated for this loan during last spring’s budget-making process.

“I’ve always said, ‘Small towns deserve good things too,’ and that’s why last spring I fought to fund these crucial projects in places like Assumption,” Manar said. “Regular maintenance of water systems is something that can easily be taken for granted but must not be overlooked.”

Through this loan, which is eligible for forgiveness, the City of Assumption will install a system for nitrate removal, a phosphate feed system, replace all active water meters, and replace undersized water main. If the loan is forgiven, it would not need to be paid back.

“I truly commend Senator Manar and his dedication to working with IEPA and Assumption so that we can have safe drinking water and an infrastructure in place for decades to come,” Assumption Alderman Derek Page said. “These funds made it necessary that the city won’t have to raise rates and make water bills more burdensome than they already are.”

Illinois EPA’s State Revolving Fund includes two loan programs, the Water Pollution Control Loan Program (WPCLP) which funds both sewer and stormwater projects, and the Public Water Supply Loan Program (PWSLP) for drinking water projects.

Funding for this loan is provided through the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan.

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DECATUR – As Lamarcus Williams began his first term as the President of the Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) offered his congratulations.

“Lamarcus Williams is exactly the kind of person we need in union leadership positions. He is tenacious, dedicated, and completely engaged in advocating on behalf of working people,” Manar said. “I have no doubt that in this new leadership capacity he will continue to build on a legacy of strong union presence in Macon County.”

Williams currently serves as president of the United Steel Workers Local 193G. He is an active member of the union and has served the Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly as both a delegate and member of the executive board.

“All workers deserve social and economic justice and I am honored to be leading Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly to accomplish that goal,” Williams said. “I look forward to collaborating with local unions to advocate on behalf of the working men and women in Macon County.”

Representing more than 13,000 union members and retirees in Macon County, the Decatur Trades and Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO works to improve the lives of working families by bringing economic justice to the workplace and social justice to the community. Leadership positions are elected by the delegates of 33 local unions affiliated with the central labor council.

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BUNKER HILL – Following the passing of former state Senator and Carlinville mayor Deanna Demuzio, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) released the following statement:

“I met Deanna Demuzio on a hot summer evening in 1995 at the Macoupin County Fair. I was in college—her husband Vince took a liking to me and invited me to the fair with him to watch the queen pageant.  I was nervous that night driving to Carlinville from Bunker Hill. This was way out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t know the Demuzios, and they really didn’t know me.  Vince was late getting to the fair, so I found myself roaming aimlessly around the entrance to the grandstand—the only person wearing a pair of khakis and a polo shirt in the blazing heat.  That must have made me stick out like a sore thumb. Debating in my head how long I should stick around, a woman walked up to me as if she was on a mission. Armed with a smile, she said in the most pleasant of voices, ‘You must be Andy. I’ve heard so much about you.’ She handed me my ticket and said ‘follow me.’ As we made our way through the grandstand, Deanna must have sensed my nerves were shot. But I suddenly felt at-ease. Immediately, I was struck by her warmth and grace, her smile, her ability to make me feel comfortable. I think that was perhaps her greatest attribute, and that’s how I will always remember her.  She was such a caring person.

“Deanna Demuzio was a central figure throughout my life – always there to help, inspire, and mentor. And I by no means was alone in that regard. Deanna was admired by so many. She was a trailblazer, and her name is synonymous with Carlinville and Macoupin County. Deanna was a fierce advocate for the things she believed in and represents the best that we all strive to be as public servants.  Words cannot fully encapsulate all that she has given to causes greater than herself over the course of her lifetime. 

“My deepest sympathies go out to Stephanie, and the entire Demuzio family.

“Rest in peace my friend. I will miss you. We all will miss you.”

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