With all the millions of dollars that will be made on the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Highway Improvement Program, i.e., the Kingery Expressway and the Dan Ryan reconstruction projects, what impact will it truly have for blacks in the local communities or the state of Illinois?

Will there be any millionaires or potential millionaires created as a result of the IDOT improvements? There have been none so far, and this project has been going on for sometime. We have been driving and looking as well as waiting for Mother Goose to lay the golden egg that has never hatched for blacks.

It seems as though the cups for whites and Hispanics have run over with opportunities off the Dan Ryan reconstruction project. If you look at the report on IDOT’s website (www.dot.il.gov) to see how much money whites and Hispanics made, you will see that they have flourished.

Is it that Gov. Blagojevich and his administration do not like black people or just like lying to our elected officials when it comes to economic opportunities for blacks? Well, we know some say he placed blacks in key positions. Is that the tradeoff for giving the black community no jobs, or five jobs, (according to the March 29 Chicago Tribune article, “IDOT set for more scrutiny,” in the Metro Section). Is it also a tradeoff for offering $10 per hour jobs in our community where we are registered voters and treated like illegal immigrants or refugees? Our elected officials have been given very flowery statistics regarding the number of blacks who are working and the amount of money they are making or will make. So far, the statistics are very dismal.

Imagine this scenario: another community on another side of town in Chicago with a large project such as reconstruction, new construction or any construction. Will they get equity, or will they get audited? Or will their elected officials stop the large project in its tracks because his or her constituents are not benefitting from the millions of dollars in question?

Omar Shareef
President/founder, African American Contractors Association