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Illinois airports score another legislative victory with changes to IDOT grant awards

June 20, 2022

Illinois airports scored a legislative victory with the signing of HB4489, amending the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA). This law, which is effective immediately, removes duplicative work at both the project and state levels for transportation projects using federal funds. Members of the Illinois Airports Council (IAC), which was founded and is chaired by QC Airport executive director Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E., took aim at the original house bill which initially excluded many aviation projects.

Members of IAC began a letter writing campaign to their elected officials requesting that the bill language be updated to include all modes of transportation. Airport leaders justified the request by informing legislators that all provisions of GATA are already included in certifications, assurances and reporting that is required at the federal level. GATA requirements did not have any added benefit to the existing federal requirements, creating unnecessary work both for project sponsors as well as the awarding state agencies.

“This bill is a positive step toward removing duplicative work, freeing up state resources to focus on attracting additional federal funding to Illinois, and increasing operational efficiency,” said Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E., Illinois Airports Council chair and executive director at Quad Cities International Airport. “The hope is that by removing redundant requirements currently found in the state’s process, airports can get back to working with the state.”

The amendment was granted which means GATA no longer applies to any grant awards from IDOT to local government. This has the potential to be extremely impactful in further streamlining the flow of state and federal dollars to Illinois airports.

The recent passage of the infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021 combined with the Rebuild Illinois capital plan in 2019 were historic and unprecedented in terms of the amount of investments in infrastructure made in transportation projects throughout the state. HB4489 eases some of the strain placed upon local governments to deliver those projects effectively and efficiently.

House sponsors include: Reps. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville), Tim Butler (R-Springfield), Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), Michael Halpin (D-Rock Island) and Mark Luft (R-Pekin).

Senate sponsors include: Sens. Scott M. Bennett (D-Champaign), Christopher Belt (D-East St. Louis), David Koehler (D-Peoria), Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and Jill Tracy (R-Quincy).

HB4489 passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

Illinois Airports Council also successfully lobbied to amend the Channeling Act which took effect January 1, 2022.

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