Leroy Jordan ManarSPRINGFIELD – A proposal to improve transparency and accountability within Springfield’s high speed rail project was approved by an Illinois Senate committee Thursday. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) presented the plan with support of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good.

“We have an opportunity to ensure that the workers and businesses benefiting from this project represent areas impacted by the construction. This plan will help ensure transparency and improve accountability while promoting full minority participation,” Manar said.

Manar’s proposal would create a bipartisan commission to review the 10th Street Rail Corridor project and ensure that it follows guidelines laid out in the program’s community benefits agreement.

The Faith Coalition for the Common Good is working to make sure guidelines are followed that include funding for job training programs, ensuring disadvantaged hiring and minority contracting objectives. The overriding goal of the agreement was to include members of the affected communities in the railroad decision-making process.

Leroy Jordan, chair of FCCG’s Rail Task Force represented the organization and testified about the proposal. Also joining Manar and Jordan at Thursday’s hearing was Rev. T. Ray McJunkins, president of FCCG who has spearheaded efforts on minority participation.

The proposed commission will have the authority to hold hearings to measure the progress of the project and the fulfillment of these goals. Members of the commission will report to state, county and city officials detailing their findings.

The proposal, Senate Bill 675, passed the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee with bipartisan support and now goes on to debate in the Senate.

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