Illinois Business Journal Illinois Business Journal
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Area leaders seek time to repair levees, dodge FEMA bombshell

   Area leaders are mobilizing forces to buy time and correct levee problems on a schedule that may need to accelerate due to a federal agency's floodplain re-mapping initiative.
   On Aug. 15th, U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers co-sponsored a levee summit, bringing together all of the levee districts and people from the business community to get a better understanding of the overall flood protection system in Southwestern Illinois.
   At that meeting a spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the agency is undertaking a project to remap floodplain areas throughout the entire nation as a result of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Levee standards - and the deficiencies of some of the levees protecting the American Bottom - were discussed. According to Madison County Board chairman Alan Dunstan, nothing alarming came out of the meeting as most of those in attendance already knew that problems existed. It was decided to meet again at [continue]

The American Bottom floodplain covers 175 square miles from Alton down to Columbia. It is protected by multiple levee systems.

Bi-state Mississippi Bridge deal awaits passage of Illinois capital bill

   An agreement on the new Mississippi River Bridge could be announced soon, according to Cong. Jerry Costello.
   He says that the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Transportation have reached a tentative agreement on a free, non-toll bridge. Announcement of the agreement is pending passage of a capital bill by the [continue]

The United Cerebral Palsy Land of Lincoln Center in Springfield has one electronic lift shared by 62 people. If Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed healthcare initiative passes legislative muster, 25 percent of his $463 million worth of budget cuts to fund it are coming from existing healthcare programs like this one.

Governor funds new healthcare initiative by taking from existing health programs

   Although Gov. Rod Blagojevich has said he wants to reallocate state spending to put more money into health care, more than 25 percent of the budget cuts he made six weeks ago came from existing health and human services programs.
   In late August, the governor overrode legislators and cut a total of $463 million from the state's General Fund budget to fund the start of his $2.1 billion universal healthcare initiative. Ironically, according to Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, a Republican from Greenville, $120 million of those cuts came from [continue]