Governor Quinn Signs Bill That Helps Fire Departments Buy Trucks - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Governor Quinn Signs Bill That Helps Fire Departments Buy Trucks

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn came to town Saturday and signed new legislation making it easier for local governments to buy fire trucks. It raises the cap on a state loan program and allows fees from traffic violations to help fund it.  The fire truck revolving loan program has been in place for 11 years. It's an initiative local governments use to buy firefighting trucks, but with the cost of everything rising, including fire trucks, Illinois lawmakers saw it fit to raise the funding limit for this program.  

"There's no more important issue than public safety protecting the public from harm," said Governor Quinn.

Protecting the public from harm is something the governor says is hard to do without the proper tools.

"It helps our firefighters and fire departments to make sure they can make the investment they need to get 21st century equipment," said Quinn.  

"Senate bill  2690 raises the cap  on the interest-free loan to fire department from the current $250,000 to $350,000," said Representative Don Moffitt of Galesburg.  

State representative Don Moffitt says increasing the limit on the fire truck revolving loan program was necessary. He and the Illinois Fire Marshall say its simply  a reflection of cost of living increases.

"Like bread has gone up and everything else has gone up, fire trucks have gone up as a result also," said Illinois Fire Marshall Larry Matkaitis. "Like most municipalities across the state, budgets are becoming tighter and tighter. Some of those agencies are working with a $20,000 budget.  For them to buy a new piece of fire apparatus, it's almost impossible."

The program has loaned more than 25 million dollars to Illinois fire departments over the last 11 years. Local lawmakers say the program has helped save lives.

"As people know fire departments are the backbone to our  community and you never need one until you need one. So we want to make sure we have the best equipment available to our fire departments," said Senator Mike Jacobs.  

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