infrastructure

Chase Cavanaugh

Ensuring safe drinking water is a complex process.

For modern water sources, there are two general options. The first is for a community to draw from a large surface source, such as a river or lake. But that’s not an option for DeKalb.

“In the summer times, sometimes there’s not even enough water flowing in the Kishwaukee River, so [it's] not really a reliable source of water for DeKalb," said Bryan Faivre, the director of utilities and transportation.

He says DeKalb makes use of nine wells spread across two different aquifers. Six of them are quite deep.

Peter Medlin

About a mile away from Northern Illinois University’s campus in DeKalb, a nice 2-story house on the corner of Woodlawn Drive is vacant. The only sign of wear in sight is on a small metal sign in the freshly cut yard where the address is slowly rusting away. 

Built in 1955, this house has been home to the presidents of NIU. But, when Dr. Lisa Freeman was hired last year, she already had a home in DeKalb.

Construction workers are building the foundation for new tracks at a train crossing south of downtown Springfield. The long-term plan includes new underpasses so cars won’t have to wait for trains.

Several months ago, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder sent a letter to lawmakers asking for $127 million in a construction plan to pay for the next phase – new tracks and overpasses farther south.

Friday is the last day of the Illinois General Assembly’s scheduled spring legislative session, and lawmakers still have a long list of things to do.

Kristin McHugh/Peoria Public Radio

Illinois will spend more than $11 billion on maintaining and replacing roads and bridges in the next six years.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the program Tuesday in Peoria, where $205 million – the largest single chunk of the plan -- will be used to replace the McClugage Bridge.

"Chain Of Rocks Bridge" by Flickr User Chris Yunker / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois needs more money to cover its deteriorating transportation systems, but the federal government’s new infrastructure plan doesn’t offer much.

A recent report estimates the state will need close to $4.6 billion per year to bring roadways, bridges and transit systems up to working condition. One proposed solution: Illinois motorists and users of public transportation may have to shoulder the expenses.