News Local/State

Rep. Brown: Quick Passage for Omnibus Measure, Including Tuscola Plant


State Representative Adam Brown says he expects the Senate and Governor to quickly approve a measure backing a number of economic projects, including a fertilizer plant in Tuscola.

The Champaign Republican admits he was surprised to see incentives for the Cronus Chemicals facility tacked on late to the nearly 400-page omnibus bill that passed the House 81-35 Thursday.

Illinois is in a bidding war with Iowa for the $1.2 billion plant, which Brown says includes $35-million in tax incentives.  He says Iowa’s package is actually worth more, but believes Illinois still holds the advantage.

“We’ve got the natural gas pipelines, we’ve got the water source, which is still slightly in limbo, but I think could be worked out," he said.  "And then also, we’ve got a transportation hub there.  We’ve got railways, we’ve got roadways.  So Illinois is definitely the preferred site.”

Brown says Cronus has 90 days to decide where it’s locating once Governor Pat Quinn signs the measure.

The plant is expected to provide 1,500 construction jobs and 300 permanent ones.

The Urbana and Champaign Sanitary District has been approached about selling the wastewater required for the fertilizer plant.

Brown says it’s important to find a way to re-use that water for industrial purposes, and running a pipeline to Tuscola in a clean, safe way to help the agriculture industry.

The lengthy omnibus measure that includes incentives to attract Chronus Chemicals to Illinois also includes a provision paving the way for construction of a third Chicago-area airport in Will County.

The provision would create a new public-private partnership under IDOT to control the new airport.

The vote on the bill was mixed among East-Central Illinois House lawmakers. 

Republicans Brown, Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Brad Halbrook (R-Charleston), and Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) backed the bill, as did Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) and Sue Scherer (D-Decatur.)  But Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), Josh Harms (R-Watseka), and Chad Hays (R-Catlin) voted against the measure.

UPDATE:  The Senate Executive Committee approved the bill 10-5 Friday. The bill now moves to the Senate floor.

In addition to the fertilizer plant and airport in Peotone, the measure also authorizes financing for a DePaul University basketball arena near Chicago's McCormick Place.

Gov. Pat Quinn has called the third Chicago area airport a potential "huge economic engine.''