Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation will be required to provide funding to create additional infrastructure, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law today.

The measure requires IDOT to fully fund all aspects of construction projects on state roadways, including infrastructure for pedestrians walking and bicycling within one mile of a city or town. Additionally, the measure requires IDOT to complete any of these unfinished infrastructure projects in municipalities with a population of 1,000 or more.

“Constituents voiced their concern about kids having to walk in the street to get to and from school,” Belt said. “With this funding, parents can trust that their children are traveling safely to and from school.”

Currently, IDOT covers 100% of the roadway construction, but requires 20% of costs associated with pedestrian infrastructure projects, like sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes, to be funded by the municipality where the project is located, which can be a large burden for some cities – particularly lower-income communities. 

“Many towns and cities that are left with unfinished infrastructure projects, including sidewalks, simply cannot afford to finish these projects,” Belt said. “This will help them cut into that long backlog, particularly for lower-income communities that need sidewalk projects to be finished with IDOT funding.”

According to the Metropolitan Planning Council, the states that cover 100% of state roadway projects, including pedestrian infrastructure, include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Massachusetts, Delaware, and New Jersey.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

LibraryEAST ST. LOUIS – A number of Metro East libraries will soon see upgrades to services thanks to more than $400,000 in grants, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) announced today.

“People visit libraries to escape reality and enhance their knowledge,” Belt said. “It’s essential we continue to support and fund local libraries as our communities rely on them.”

The $417,990 received by 12 local libraries is part of $18.1 million in grants awarded to 638 public libraries across the state. For more than 40 years, the Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants Program has helped public libraries with a low library tax base to ensure a minimum level of funding for library services.

Libraries will use the grants from the secretary of state’s office to help fund new services and products, such as audiobooks, adult programming, dual language materials and more.

“Reading inspires a lifelong interest in books,” Belt said. “As the school year begins, I encourage students to visit a local library and take advantage of the resources available.”

The following libraries in the 57th District will receive funds:

  • Belleville Public Library, $65,605
  • East St. Louis Public Library, $165,550
  • Fairview Heights Public Library, $25,190
  • Freeburg Area Library District, $9,000
  • Six Mile Regional Library District, $64,541
  • Lebanon Public Library, $6,516
  • Madison Public Library, $8,255
  • Mascoutah Public Library, $12,637
  • Millstadt Public Library, $5,916
  • O’Fallon Public Library, $44,899
  • Smithton Public Library District, $7,090
  • Venice Public Library, $2,787
Category: Press Releases

FlagsSPRINGFIELD – State parks will be required to fly the United States, Illinois and prisoner of war/missing in action flags thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law Sunday.

“These flags represent our state and nation,” Belt said. “Flying these flags serves to remind us of our history, and how much we owe service members for the sacrifices they’ve made to protect the freedom we have today.”

The new law requires Illinois Department of Natural Resources to fly a United States, Illinois and POW/MIA flag at all state parks within five years after it is signed into law. Additionally, the legislation allows for groups and individuals to donate resources to the department’s Special Projects Fund to cover any costs.

“Illinois state parks conserve and preserve the natural habitats of our state,” Belt said. “Flying these three flags shows pride in our country and our state, and honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice in our nation’s wars.”

There are over 100 state parks in Illinois. For a list of all state parks, visit the IDNR website.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

Bill signing 08.15.2021SPRINGFIELD – Service members and their spouses will receive professional licenses faster in Illinois thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law Sunday.

The measure will make transitions easier for those whose jobs depend on having a professional license and whose living arrangements are often changed by a deployment or cross-country transfer. An airman's spouse who works as an optometrist, for instance, would have an easier time receiving their license to practice in Illinois after transferring to Scott Airforce Base under the plan.

“Service members and their spouses will now have their professional licenses reviewed in a timely manner so they can get back to work,” Belt said. “Many individuals who serve at Scott Airforce Base and their spouses relocate from another state. This will make it quicker and easier for them to get back into their careers.”

The new law requires state agencies that issue occupational or professional licenses to review applications for expedited licensure for service members and their spouses within 30 days, rather than 60 days under current law.

“The men and women who serve our country will no longer wait around for their professional licenses to be approved,” Belt said. “The lengthy delays service members and their spouses face will now be cut in half.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

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