At the Illinois Tollway, uncompetitive bidding has cost toll payers over $1 billion since 2005. At the Department of Transportation, uncompetitive bidding costs taxpayers more than $100 million per year.
Reforming the prevailing wage laws could save our schools nearly $160 million every year. We must restructure bidding for construction projects at every level of government because reforms will save taxpayers billions--and we can reinvest these billions in even more capital projects to help our communities.
We had one former Governor in jail and another on the way to jail. Our economy had plunged into the worst recession since the Great Depression, brought to its knees by greedy and corrupt financiers. And our financial house was on fire, set ablaze by decades of mismanagement and an utter lack of willingness to make the tough calls.
But over the past five years, we've rebuilt one hard step at a time. And we've been getting the job done. Illinois is making a comeback.
When I took the oath of office, state government hadn't properly invested in our infrastructure in 10 years. Within 10 weeks, we passed the largest construction program in Illinois history. So far, we've built and repaired 7,595 miles of road, 1,311 bridges and 978 schools.
In the last 3 years, manufacturing has been one of our state's leading growth sectors, creating nearly 40,000 new jobs. We're at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing, and we need to stay there.
That's why we're partnering with the University of Illinois and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create an advanced manufacturing hub where companies--big and small--come to learn and use the world's most sophisticated tools and software. The Illinois Manufacturing Lab will make our manufacturers more competitive.
Now, in our Illinois, we leave no worker behind. As we create next-generation jobs, we must ensure that our workers are equipped for them. We're closing this "skills gap."
Oberweis: What has been a great area in the last couple years are folks buying and selling patents. We own a company called Acacia Technology that goes to companies, buys patents or licenses patents, and then sues to enforce them or license them to those that are infringing.
Q: Aren't these just bloodsuckers, leeches just trolling and being a bane to everybody?
Oberweis: Some have said that. First of all, they're profitable leeches, if you take that connotation. But I would say no. They do fulfill a niche, and here's the niche. XYZ company is a small company, they do business with Microsoft, Microsoft infringes their patent. And if they decided to sue Microsoft, Microsoft buries them in paperwork for the next 20 years. I am a strong believer that intellectual property rights need to be protected. It's Acacia's business, and they help companies in that situation because that's their sole business.
Now that took a lot of work. It took State policemen on the highways, the Department of Transportation. We passed a law this year, a very important law that will ban texting while driving.
A: Starting with the problem that supports one of the most important sectors in our state, which is the need to take the 70-year-old locks and dams that have been preserved by the Corp of Engineers, but which everybody knows now are in need of attention so that we can maintain the transport system that supports our agriculture. That would be a first priority. Second, we have the problem of congestion in the air space over OíHare that has been held up by a whole bunch of political paralysis; people paying lip service to what needs to be done, while they stand back in fear of having to deal with what is really, at the end of the day, an effort to control the situation politically. We need to integrate central & southern Illinois into this plan, by making sure that we have encouraged Amtrak to develop its full potential for rail transportation, that knits together our whole state.
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