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Tollway Project Aims To Include More Veterans, Minorities

The Illinois Toll Highway Authority is playing a vital role in economic development and job creation throughout northern Illinois. It’s also looking for ways to increase minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses in their construction projects.

The Authority is planning to build a nearly 63,000-square-foot Maintenance Facility at U.S. 20 and I-90. The new building will be LEED certified, green and modern – and will involve and built by more minority-, disadvantaged-, women- and veteran-owned businesses than ever before.

“We are going to continue our efforts to identify local minority-owned companies that can do that work and participate in all the work of the tollway,” said Tollway Board Director and Rockford resident Earl Dotson Jr., “and so we have really great programs, mentor programs, where they really do a lot of great support work.”

Credit Phil Masterton/WNIJ
Tollway Authority Board Member Earl Dotson, left, and Executive Director Greg Bedalov.

Tollway officials hosted a networking event Tuesday at Rock Valley College where local contractors could register with larger, local general contractors in hopes of getting in on the M7 project.

Rather than the usual 20 percent minority-business participation, this project has a goal of 28.5 percent -- about which Executive Director Greg Bedalov is optimistic.

“I have every reason to believe that we’ll exceed those goals,” he said. “I believe it’s a fact to say that, with the veteran goals -- which this is the first year we put veteran goals on our contracts -- nearly every contract exceeded the veteran goal; and on the DBE goals, we exceed it the great majority of the time as well.”

More information on the diversity program is avalilable at the Illinois Tollway website under the "Doing Business" section.