Federal Money for the Arsenal & Thomson
January 17, 2014
The new federal budget means jobs for the Quad Cities and northwestern Illinois. This afternoon Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin and East Moline congresswoman Cheri Bustos held a news conference with local officials to celebrate appropriations for the Rock Island Arsenal and to open the Thomson prison. The bill was passed by the House and Senate this week and probably will be signed by the president over the weekend.
Durbin says the Arsenal is one of the most important employers in the Quad Cities, and the bill includes money to help it compete for contracts with private companies, and to insure the Pentagon uses its skilled workers - the same workers who put in so much time supplying US troops for the Iraq and Afghan wars.
"Now that war has ended and the Afghan troops are coming home too, the question is what is the future of the Arsenal. We believe the Arsenal has to be kept strong - strong because these men and women who work there have done not only a great job for our country, but will be there when needed."
With this support he believes the Arsenal will continue to be a crucial part of the local economy.
Thomson village president Vicki Trager is thrilled the bill includes money to open the prison, which is now federal, and hire workers.
"As activation begins, construction workers will bring an immediate impact to Thomson and our neighborhing communities - motels, restaurants, and retails sales. Later when incoming correctional officers and staff and families move in, the're going to need schools, housing, services, and shopping."
The full activation of the prison is expected to take two years.
Durbin and Bustos also emphasize the bill contains a 1 per cent pay raise for millitary personnel and civilian employees of the Department of Defense.
(photo - l to r - Ill St Rep Mike Smiddy, Congresswoman Bustos, Ill St Sen Mike Jacobs, Senator Durbin, Vicki Trager, Ill St Rep Pat Verschoore, East Moline mayor John Thodos)