Shared by Donnie Anderson, ICBV Chairman – A letter to Governor Rauner in regards to the closing of rest areas in Illinois.
Office of the Honorable Governor Bruce Rauner
207 State House
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Under the Federal Randolph-Sheppard Act and Illinois state law 2421, The Blind Vendor’s Act, blind individuals successfully manage vending and foodservice facilities on federal, state, county and municipal locations. The recent inability of the state of Illinois to pay certain bills is now threatening to put us out of work on our highway rest areas. In this case the water is being shut off at rest areas due to unpaid bills to the municipalities providing water service.
IDOT has and continues to be a cooperative partner with us. They are pursuing avenues to alleviate rest area closures. That said closures are imminent. Two rest areas were threatened to close last week with three-days notice at Skeeter and Goshen Road. I have been informed that Cumberland is scheduled to close November 9th.
All rest area closures put blind people out of work, as there are no customers to serve. The Illinois Department of Transportation works with us to minimize down time for construction. Water shut off is quite beyond IDOT control. When a licensed blind business owner looses a day in sales at a rest area the income is lost forever. Additionally, closures also put the driving public’s safety at an avoidable and unnecessary risk. It should be noted that the cleaning crews are often folks with disabilities as well.
We feel that the Governor can put these fires out in very short order. The municipalities have already affected smaller IDOT locations in shutting the water off. We seek immediate relief from the displacement of Illinois’ Licensed Blind Managers operating and serving Illinois under federal and state law.
Thank you for your immediate assistance.
Chairman, Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors
53 W. Jackson Suite #502
Chicago Illinois 60604