CHICAGO - Ending a six-year drought in new capital spending, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday signed a $31 billion, partially bond-financed construction program into law as lawmakers prepare to return to work today to resolve an impasse over a new fiscal 2010 operating budget.

"This is a crucial economic recovery initiative that will generate what's needed most in Illinois - jobs, jobs, jobs," Quinn said at a bill-signing ceremony. "Illinois Jobs Now provides many long-awaited improvements to our bridges and roads, transportation networks, schools and communities."

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