As a licensed contractor, my livelihood is dependent on the availability of long-term construction and development ventures.
During times of economic growth, state investment dollars are regularly set aside for infrastructure and public works improvements. However, since the onset of the national recession, large-scale economic development projects are far less common.
This is why the recent filing with the Illinois Commerce Commission for the approval of the Rock Island Clean Line is so exciting. In addition to transporting 3,500 megawatts of clean energy to communities that need it most, it will also provide years of work for contractors, engineers and construction personnel across the state.
The Rock Island Clean Line will significantly reduce the cost of electricity in Illinois, and the $600 million direct investment will create hundreds of jobs in the construction of the line.
There will also be numerous jobs created in the manufacture of equipment for the many wind farms used to power the line. The electrical cost savings and new jobs will ultimately translate into economic revitalization in parts of the state that need it most.
Officials with the Rock Island Clean Line have made a commitment to support local, Illinois-based companies during the construction phase of the line. That will have a positive impact on those in the contracting, engineering and construction industries.
From both the clean energy and jobs perspective, the Rock Island Clean Line is a smart move for Illinois.