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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today held a virtual press conference to preview President Biden’s first State of the Union address to Congress. Durbin’s “virtual guests” include Mayor Vernard Alsberry Jr., of Hazel Crest; Don Finn of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 in Chicago; and Christine Morris, RN, site manager at Heartland Health Services in Peoria. All three guests have made significant contributions to their communities through funds provided by the US rescue plan (ARP) and the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act.

“My guests at this year’s State of the Union address have made incredible contributions to their communities,” noted Durbin. “Whether it’s getting people vaccinated and getting back to school, distributing funds for water and sewer infrastructure, or expanding electric vehicle infrastructure, they are changing lives and I am delighted to share their stories. I am also grateful for President Biden’s leadership. Thanks to both US rescue plan and the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we have delivered on our promises to the nation.

“Since President Biden took office, there has been a strong partnership between the federal government and local government,” said Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard Alsberry, Jr. “The US rescue plan has been a lifeline for Illinois municipalities large and small, including my community of Hazel Crest. These funds will be used to invest in our water infrastructure, economic development and the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank Senator Durbin for his leadership and continued advocacy on behalf of our residents.

“Heartland is grateful for the federal funds we have received, which have helped us expand COVID-19 vaccination and testing, while continuing to provide needed preventative and primary health care services to our community,” said Chrissy Morris, RN, site manager at Heartland Health Services in Peoria. “We want to help in any way to get us back to or close to the norm, and getting vaccinated is the best way to do that. Thank you to Senator Durbin for his support of community health centers and health care workers in Illinois.

“I want to thank President Biden, Senator Durbin and all the lawmakers who came together to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Actwhich includes historic investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” said IBEW Local 134 business manager Don Finn.“To support investment in electrified transportation, the IBEW is leading the way in building a diverse and inclusive workforce through partnerships with area high schools, community colleges and community organizations. All of these programs provide opportunities to step into our apprenticeships that can lead to a career in the electrical industry that provides economic stability and a strong middle class foundation for the benefit of future generations. IBEW has been the driving force in clean energy technology for decades. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure, solar and wind power generation, and energy storage systems will all play a key role in the resilient power grid of the future. Current and future IBEW members will continue to lead this charge towards the reality of clean energy. »

Through the American rescue plan, which was signed into law by President Biden last March, Illinois received $14 billion in state and local tax relief funding, including nearly $6 billion for Illinois municipalities. These flexible funds can be used for pandemic-related costs, to replace lost revenue, as well as for local infrastructure and economic development. The Village of Hazel Crest has received $1.8 million in ARP funding, which it will use to invest in its water supply and sewage infrastructure, provide economic relief through a twinning program of home renovations and compensate for the loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARP has also provided more than $70 billion in funds for vaccine distribution, testing and public health, and to strengthen the health workforce, including $7.6 billion for community health centers. Christine administered vaccines through Heartland Health Services, which reviewed $4.5 million in ARP funding.

the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act, signed into law by President Biden last fall, includes more than $7.5 billion to build a national electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Electricians will play a key role in expanding electric vehicle infrastructure, and the IBEW is preparing its members for the infrastructure work of the future, including expanding a high school solar installation and maintenance program to include electric vehicle training. The program includes three high schools in Chicago and one in Springfield, with expansion plans in Peoria, Decatur and East St. Louis. IBEW Local 134 uses the nationally recognized Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) to train members from apprentice to journeyman level.

Recently, Durbin pointed out that investments in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Charging Network through the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act will have significant benefits in Illinois, including creating well-paying local jobs and making it easier for Illinois to travel around the state and country. DOT investments in electric vehicle charging will total nearly $5 billion over the next five years, including $22 million this year alone in Illinois, to help expand our nation’s electric vehicle charging network. country.


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