PEORIA – The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District was named a recipient of a $16.7 million grant to improve Peoria’s mass transit system, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced Friday.

“It’s an unfortunate truth that public transportation systems can easily fall into disrepair, which creates issues for people without reliable access to a vehicle,” Koehler said. “Whether it’s for commuting to work, making a trip to the grocery store, or picking up your child from school, people have to have reliable public transportation systems. This is an important investment to make in Peoria.”

Grant funds will be used for new or renovated buses, 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.

A complete list of local providers and awards can be viewed at https://idot.click/rbi-capital-plan-transit-grants.

Category: Press Releases

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PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced several local businesses will receive financial assistance from the Business Interruption Grant program to help offset financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The BIG program has demonstrated what can be done when we lawmakers in Springfield put our heads together and proactively seek ways to help those we serve,” Koehler said. “Because of this, businesses that have served our communities for generations are able to continue operations.”

28 businesses in the tri-county area received a combined $1,425,000 in $5,000-$150,000 grants to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, as part of the second round of BIG Grants. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“In order for our local business community to prosper through the winter we need them to take advantage of every opportunity available,” Koehler said. “There is still plenty of money available, but it won’t be there for long. I encourage all business owners to check their eligibility and apply as soon as possible.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases


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PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria, joined with Gov. JB Pritzker and officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation to mark the completion of the Murray Baker Bridge’s renovation project Monday.

“The revitalization of the Murray Baker Bridge was a long time coming," Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said. "The peace of mind that comes with regular maintenance of our roads and bridges cannot be understated and the newly installed lights add to the already magnificent Peoria skyline."

The $42.2 million rehabilitation project, for which Koehler was a key advocate during negotiations for the Rebuild Illinois construction plan, removed and replaced the existing bridge deck, repaired structural steel, repainted lower portions of the bridge and installed new lighting, resulting in a smoother, safer ride for commuter and freight traffic. Decorative lighting was also added to emphasize a community landmark.

Built in 1958, the Murray Baker Bridge is utilized by 68,000 vehicles a day on average and carries Interstate 74 over the Illinois River, uniting Peoria and East Peoria. The most recent upgrade was in 2005, with the last replacement of the bridge deck in 1984.

The Murray Baker Bridge will reopen on Oct. 31.

Category: Press Releases

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PEORIA – To continue expanding access to quality broadband in rural areas, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) announced $50 million in funding are available through the Connect Illinois broadband expansion program’s second round of grants today.

“In order to participate in the 21st Century economy, people need reliable, affordable internet access,” Koehler said. “By setting aside money in the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan to improve our broadband infrastructure, Downstate businesses, schools, farmers and health care providers will have the opportunity to flourish on a whole new level.”

With the help of a $3.1 million grant to Century Enterprises, Inc., the first round of Connect Illinois grants jumpstarted the process of providing improved access to high-speed internet for approximately to 581 households, businesses, farms and other institutions across parts of Peoria, Knox and Fulton counties. Communities that received new or improved connections included Rapatee, Laura, Dunlap, Kickapoo, Hanna City, Trivoli, Knoxville, Princeville, Williamsfield, Maquon, Bernadotte and Ipava.

The second round of Connect Illinois grants will allow for up to $5 million per project and calls for a matching component, which requires companies to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments. 

Funding for the Connect Illinois program is made possible through Rebuild Illinois, the state’s historic, bipartisan $45 billion statewide construction program, which dedicates $420 million to broadband infrastructure.

The application for this round of grants will remain open through February 2021. More information on this grant program can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website.

Category: Press Releases

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