Illinois continues to improve

Illinois State Comptroller
Fiscal Focus
5 min readApr 1, 2024


Economic development initiatives across various communities in Illinois are infusing essential revenue, fostering revitalization, and sparking economic activity throughout the state. Take a glimpse at some of the ongoing projects shaping the future of Illinois.

Downstate Transit Investments

Governor Pritzker announced in January 2023, a historic investment of $113.8 million in downstate transit providers through the Rebuild Illinois capital program. This brings the total investment in downstate transit to $337.8 million. The announcement, made in Decatur, marks the third round of competitive grants under Rebuild Illinois, benefiting 32 downstate transit partners. The projects include the electrification of transit vehicles, hybrid bus replacement, zero-emission bus acquisition, construction of bus shelters, and the establishment of maintenance facilities to expand and improve services. Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman emphasized that these awards strengthen the state’s position as a national leader in providing safe and accessible public transportation, showcasing the commitment to improving the transportation system under Rebuild Illinois.

Kennedy Expressway Upgrades

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) initiated a $150 million rehabilitation project for the Kennedy Expressway (Interstate 90/94), spanning from the Edens Expressway (I-94) junction to Ohio Street. The extensive project kicked off in March and includes the rehabilitation of 36 bridges, upgrades to the Reversible Lane Access Control system, replacement of overhead sign structures, installation of modernized LED lights and new signage, as well as pavement patching and structural painting. Hubbard’s Cave, from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street, will also undergo painting and receive new LED lighting. The rehabilitation work is scheduled over three consecutive construction seasons, divided into stages for the inbound Kennedy (2023), Reversible Express Lanes (2024), and outbound Kennedy (2025). The project aims to enhance safety, traffic flow and reliability for the daily 275,000 motorists who use the expressway. The last major rehabilitation was in 1994, which was its first since its official opening in November 1960.

AFAM Concept Inc. Tour

In September, Comptroller Mendoza toured AFAM Concept Inc., in Chicago, meeting with some of their dedicated employees. With decades of experience, they’ve crafted hair care lines loved by salons, distributors and consumers worldwide! AFAM employs 128 people.

High Speed Rail

Governor JB Pritzker and key stakeholders announced in June the commencement of high-speed — 110 mph — passenger rail service between Chicago and St. Louis, marking a significant milestone in the $1.96 billion project. The higher speeds reduce travel times by approximately 15 minutes from the previous 90 mph runtimes and 30 minutes from the initial 79 mph schedule. The project, part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, aims to enhance safety, convenience and accessibility while connecting communities and institutions. The project, funded by $1.66 billion in federal funding and $300 million in state and non-federal funds, includes upgraded stations, safety enhancements, and the acquisition of new locomotives, contributing to Illinois’ status as a transportation hub.

Prysmian Group Plant Expansion

In July, Comptroller Mendoza celebrated the groundbreaking of a $62 million expansion of the Prysmian Group plant in DuQuoin, IL. This expansion will create numerous opportunities for Southern Illinois, including a projected addition of 75- 100 new, full time, Teamster jobs.

Walker’s Bluff Resort Grand Opening

Comptroller Mendoza celebrates after the ribbon cutting at the new Walker’s Bluff Resort.

In August, Comptroller Mendoza was delighted to join other stakeholders for the grand opening of Walker’s Bluff Resort. This marks a significant milestone for Southern Illinois, as this venture promises to bring 300–400 jobs to Southern Illinois and opportunities to the region, strengthening its economic vitality.

STAR Bonds Project

In September, the Marion City Council approved the state’s first STAR Bonds project to bring jobs, fun and economic development to Southern Illinois. Comptroller Mendoza’s prior work became part of former State Rep. John Bradley’s 2010 bill that paved the way for the project. The plan to develop 700 acres, including the redevelopment of the mall which has stood desolate for many years, will be transformative for Southern Illinois and will benefit the entire state.

Contour Airlines Southern Illinois Expansion

In August, Comptroller Mendoza joined Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, State Senator Dale Fowler, and others in welcoming daily service from Chicago to Marion in Southern Illinois on Contour Airlines, bringing Illinois together north and south! It will be a huge boom for tourism and an economic driver for the region.

Gotion Electric Vehicle Battery Gigafactory

In September, Gotion broke ground on a new Electric Vehicle Battery Gigafactory in Manteno. The plant will create 2,600 jobs, investing $2 billion in a state-of-the-art electric vehicle battery production plant.

Milestones Reached on $1.3 Billion I-80 Corridor Project

The Illinois Department of Transportation marked key milestones in November, on the $1.3 billion I-80 overhaul, a centerpiece of Governor Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois program. Nearly $385 million in projects on I-80’s mainline lanes, spanning almost 12 miles, will commence in the upcoming construction season. Notable achievements include the diverging-diamond design at Houbolt Road interchange, improvements to Shepley Road and Wheeler Avenue bridges, and upcoming enhancements to Briggs Street and River Road bridges. The comprehensive project aims for substantial completion by the end of 2028, contributing to improved travel times and reduced congestion along the 16-mile stretch from Minooka to Joliet. For additional details, visit

Completion of I-280 in Quad Cities

A $65.7 million multiyear project, part of the Rebuild Illinois program, to install a new deck on the Interstate 280 Sgt. John F. Baker Jr. Mississippi River Bridge in Rock Island County was completed in November. The improvement, made in partnership with Iowa, ensures a smoother and safer side on this vital travel corridor. The Baker Bridge, carrying over 28,000 vehicles daily, received its first deck replacement since its opening in 1973. The project, encompassing patching, resurfacing, and additional enhancements, covered more than 6.5 miles of I-280, benefiting Illinois communities and supporting economic growth in the Quad Cities.

I-57/74 Reconstruction

In December, State officials announced milestones on the $251.8 million replacement of the Interstate 57/74 interchange. Completing the first phase of construction, the project aims to enhance safety, mobility, and support long-term economic growth in the region. The new interchange, replacing a 1965 cloverleaf, includes two flyover ramps to improve traffic flow, a third auxiliary lane on I-74, and additional capacity enhancements. The project, part of several I-57 improvements under the Rebuild Illinois program, involves collaboration with local leaders and the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, supporting workforce development.



Illinois State Comptroller
Fiscal Focus

The official account for Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza. Follow us for office services and #ILbudget updates.