Faith Coalition Wins Again on Jobs with New Rail Commission

Posted by: Gordon on 8/28/2015

Legislators look on as Faith Coalition leader speaks about rail improvements in Springfield's black communityLast week Faith Coalition for the Common Good took another step forward in its work to win jobs and keep the city and state accountable as part of a multi-million-dollar upgrade of rail tracks that run through their city’s historic black neighborhood.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation creating a commission that will oversee Springfield’s 10th Street Rail Corridor.

“We are elated  that the voice of the people most impacted by the Springfield rail project has been heard,” said Irma Wallace, co-chair of Faith Coalition’s Rail Task Force.

“This commission will ensure the neighborhoods impacted by this construction will benefit from the jobs and economic development of the project,” said state Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who sponsored the commission. “The community will have a public, centralized group to prioritize these goals and review their progress.”

Since Faith Coalition first proposed and won agreement from city government and the state for a jobs agreement several years ago, a new mayor has been elected and an archeologist discovered traces of a race riot from the early 20th century on the site where a rail crossing is to be improved.

Throughout, leaders have persevered in calling for work in the community to benefit residents and to use this opportunity to reflect

The bipartisan High-Speed Rail Oversight Commission will be made up of Springfield residents appointed by legislative leaders, the governor, the mayor of Springfield and the Sangamon County state's attorney. At minimum it must meet quarterly and issue an annual report.

Photo: Legislators looked on last June as Faith Coalition leader spoke about rail improvements in Springfield's black community. The group has pushed tirelessly to insure its community benefits agreement is implemented.

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