Governor Quinn Signs Bill to Tap New Federally-Backed Construction Funds

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 2, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed into law a bill that allows the State to issue federal stimulus-supported Build America Bonds and Qualified School Construction Bonds to fund critical capital projects such as roads, bridges and schools.

This funding is part of Governor’s Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction bill, signed into law last summer, which will retain and generate about 439,000 Illinois jobs over the next six years. Illinois Jobs Now! will spur employment in the construction, transportation, manufacturing, environmental sectors and other industries.

“Putting people to work is my top priority. This important legislation gives us the financing tools needed to move forward with school construction and other capital projects that will put people to work and help get our economy going,” said Governor Quinn.

Senate Bill 1514 allows for the procurement and payment of Build America Bonds and Qualified School Construction Bonds, programs initiated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Louis Viverito (D-Burbank) and Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago).

Qualified School Construction Bonds can be used for the construction, rehabilitation or repair of public school facilities. They may also be used for the acquisition of land on which such a facility is to be constructed. The bonds are tax-exempt and provide federal income tax credits in lieu of interest to purchasers. The State expects to issue up to $488 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds by the end of the first quarter of 2010. This is the full amount allotted to Illinois by the federal government.

The Build America Bond program authorizes state and local governments to issue Build America Bonds as taxable bonds in 2009 and 2010. The bonds can finance any capital expenditures for which they otherwise could issue tax-exempt governmental bonds.

Under the program, the federal government will reimburse Illinois for 35 percent of the bond’s total interest paid to investors. The State expects to issue its first Build America Bonds in the first quarter of calendar 2010.

The bill signing took place at Bethune Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side.