Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation to Modernize Infrastructure Improvement Process
Design-build project delivery method bolsters Gov. Pritzker’s historic capital program, improving infrastructure throughout Illinois
CHICAGO – Gov. JB Pritzker today signed into law legislation allowing for the implementation of design-build project delivery, an efficient, alternative method for completing the state’s infrastructure improvements.
Senate Bill 2981 creates the Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act, authorizing the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway Authority to adopt the use of the design-build delivery method on highway construction projects. IDOT currently utilizes the design-bid-build project delivery method in which the department designs a construction plan, then reviews bids from contractors. Design-build would create a more efficient process, allowing a single contractor to handle both design and construction of the project. Any projects that adopt this method would be capped at a combined total of $400 million.
“Illinoisans deserve modernized infrastructure on a timely basis,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “A design-build delivery method won’t just save taxpayers money—it will streamline our construction process and deliver the infrastructure improvements that our state requires. With this legislation, our Rebuild Illinois investment plan will be expedited in a time-efficient, cost-effective, and equity-based manner. I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill into law thanks to our legislative partners’ foresight and advocacy.”
“Streamlining the implementation of infrastructure projects will save taxpayer dollars and rebuild our roads, bridges and mass transit systems in a transparent and equitable manner,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “Finding alternative ways to deliver on the Rebuild Illinois capital plan remains a top priority for me as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.”
“Flexibility makes for more effective and responsive solutions,” said State Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr. “This new law will allow bidders and contractors to be more agile and adaptable in response to public needs, and for transportation agencies to ensure that bureaucratic red tape doesn’t interfere with our pursuit of the best solutions on behalf of all Illinoisans.”
“This innovative approach to designing and building our state’s infrastructure will save time and money, and that’s a win-win for the taxpayers of Illinois,” said State Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles), Chief Co-Sponsor of the legislation and Minority Spokesperson of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We’re streamlining processes, maximizing efficiencies, and fostering a collaborative approach from start to finish. I am proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of this bipartisan legislation.”
“We thank Gov. Pritzker and the General Assembly for coming through to approve these new methods of project of delivery at IDOT, something that’s been long overdue in Illinois, the transportation hub of North America and a state rich with infrastructure,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “These give us more tools in the toolbox to make sure we are delivering the governor’s historic Rebuild Illinois capital program to the public as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
“This law will give Illinois a proven best practice that will help deliver transportation projects more quickly and efficiently, saving money and getting people and goods where they need to go sooner,” said Kelly Welsh, President, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. “I want to thank Governor Pritzker, Transportation Committee Chairman Ram Villivalam, the leadership of organized labor, and the construction and engineering industry for their hard work and partnership in bringing this innovation to our state transportation program.”
“Illinois is on its way to joining the many other states both nationwide and in the Midwest that have already authorized design-build to deliver infrastructure projects,” said Mary Tyler, AICP, Transportation Director, Illinois Economic Policy Institute. “Design-build has become the industry-standard, and research shows it delivers projects more quickly and promotes cost savings. Illinois will now be equipped with a more streamlined and efficient process to tackle large, complex infrastructure projects that are vital to the state’s transportation systems.”
“Equal access in the built industry for minority owned firms in a meaningful and sustained manner must be the highest priority today,” said Rev. Larry S. Bullock, MPA, President/CEO, USMCA. “Members of the US Minority Contractors Association [USMCA], headquartered here in Illinois, enthusiastically support this new and innovative design-build law and Governor Pritzker's affirmative action taken today as he once again gives genuine support to diversity, equity and inclusion in the state of Illinois.”
“Providing IDOT and the Tollway the authority to utilize alternative delivery methods like design-build will responsibly expedite construction projects, with the goal of producing more jobs for Illinois workers and shorter construction times for Illinois commuters and businesses,” said Kevin Artl, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois. “ACEC-IL and its members are proud to have championed SB2891 and applaud the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker for their great work on this legislation.”
The Innovations for Transportation Infrastructure Act also authorizes IDOT and the Tollway to use the construction manager-general contractor delivery method on at most two projects per year. In adopting this method, the department would contract with a single contractor to serve as the construction manager for the design phase, then agree on a price to serve as general contractor for construction.
Additionally, the act requires IDOT and the Tollway to ensure full participation for minority and women-owned businesses by implementing separate goals for design and construction, bid-shopping protections, and requiring independent construction managers for projects costing over $30 million.
The adoption of the design-build method will serve as a method of streamlining the implementation of Governor Pritzker’s landmark, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois infrastructure investment plan. Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.
Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. The plan’s implementation has led to a complete revitalization of infrastructure in Illinois.