Legislative Update from Senator Don DeWitte

IDOT’s Fiscal Year 2024-2029 Plan Released

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently announced its newest Multi-Year Program (MYP). This plan will cover the next six years in transportation infrastructure repairs and updates, lasting through fiscal year 2029, and will invest a total of $41 billion over the course of that six-year period in a variety of projects. The projects are funded by a combination of federal, state, and local funds.

In this annual update to the MYP, roughly $27 billion is earmarked for roads and bridges, and $14 billion is reserved for public transit, rail, aviation, ports, waterways, and other projects. This program will also support upgrades for broadband access, state colleges, and universities.

Within the new six-year plan, just under $37 million is allocated for projects located in the 33rd Senate District. Approximately $23 million is slated for state highway projects over the next six years, with $5.8 million allocated for this current fiscal year. An additional $13.88 million is earmarked for local highway projects, with $11.38 million slated for the current fiscal year. This state and local highway funding is on top of the budgeted $12.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to help make the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge toll-free.

Click here to view the breakdown of projects for the 33rd Senate District.  

DeWitte Highlights Illinois Transportation Policies at Washington, D.C. Conference

Last week I was thrilled to join Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman in Washington, D. C. to speak with the American Road and Transportation Builders Association about our P3 (public-private partnerships) program to invest in and expand expressway infrastructure in Illinois. We also had a chance to visit with some of Illinois’ Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill, including Congressman Darrin LaHood, and Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski to discuss issues within our state. They were very generous with their time and it was a very productive trip!

Investigations Reveal Serious Issues at State Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled

Last September, Choate Mental Health and Development Center came under fire after a controversial report was released detailing complaints of abuse and neglect. In response, the state announced in March that it would respond by downsizing the facility and moving about half of the residents to the other six developmental centers run by the state in an attempt to reform the facility. Unfortunately, this week another report detailed not only continued issues of abuse and neglect at Choate, but information showing that these issues are rampant at other state-run facilities as well.

The ProPublica report shows that since 2012, Illinois State Police have opened 200 investigations into employee misconduct at the state’s seven developmental centers, which are responsible for taking care of roughly 1,600 individuals. In all, 161 of the cases involve allegations of physical abuse and criminal battery, 25 pertain to accusations of sexual assault and custodial sexual misconduct, and 10 allege criminal neglect. Four of the investigations were related to the death of a resident.

In February of 2023, every Republican lawmaker in the Illinois Senate and House signed onto a letter calling for public hearings on the situation at Choate. Last week, Republican legislators issued another request for open hearings, this time to learn more about the continued issues at all of the state’s facilities for the developmentally disabled.

I feel the administration has repeatedly failed to properly prioritize the state’s developmentally disabled community, including failing to adequately fund services and address abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, this vulnerable population is continually being left behind.

Illinois Nonprofit Opens Applications for Student Loan Program

As the start of the school year approaches, Illinois is joining forces with ISL Education Lending to launch the Illinois Partnership Loan Program, a lower-priced undergraduate and graduate student loan program for Illinois residents studying at qualifying Illinois institutions. Specifically, this program is designed to supplement other sources of financial aid for colleges, so students should seek out and exhaust all sources prior to seeking a Partnership Loan.

Applications are currently open, and you can find more information online. In order to be considered, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident currently residing in Illinois who is accepted, enrolled, or attending on a least a half-time basis a nonprofit, Title IV eligible, degree-granting, accredited Illinois college or university. Students can also apply with a cosigner and are eligible to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other aid each year, as certified by the school. Interest rates are dependent on the applicant’s credit score.

Upcoming Events in the 33rd District

We have some great community outreach events coming up, so mark your calendars now:

  • July 26, Mobile DMV Event: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, DeWitte District Office, 641 S. 8th Street, West Dundee IMPORTANT: Appointments are appreciated for this event. If you would like to reserve a spot, please email Hannah at Walk-ins are also welcome (appointments preferred).

  • August 2, New Office Open House: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM, DeWitte District Office, 406 Surrey Woods Drive, Suite A St. Charles

  • September 7, Senior Fair: 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon, Dundee Township Park District Building, 665 Barrington Ave., Carpentersville

  • September 19, Senior Fair: 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon, Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Ave, St. Charles

  • September 26, Fall Coat Drive: Coats can be dropped off at the DeWitte offices, 641 S. 8th Street, West Dundee, or the new St. Charles office (opens July 1), 406 Surrey Woods Drive, St. Charles

  • October 14, Document Shredding Event: 9:00 AM-11:00 AM, Elgin’s Gail Borden Library, Rakow Branch, 2751 W. Bowes Road, Elgin

  • October 17, Senior Fair: 10:00 AM-12:00 Noon, Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 IL-176, Crystal Lake

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