SPRINGFIELD - A bipartisan group of legislators joined together with union members and local public officials on Route 29, where four lanes become two lanes, to call on the General Assembly to pass a capital plan this summer. If passed, the Illinois Works Capital Plan would expand Route 29 so that commuters from Christian County to Springfield have a safe, less congested ride to work.
At the end of the legislative session, three of the four legislative caucuses came together to support the Illinois Works capital plan and the Senate passed the capital bill with bipartisan support. After the House Democratic leadership used a procedural maneuver to block that capital bill, the Governor called on legislative leaders to come together to pass this bipartisan plan before the month’s end.
“I am hopeful that the Governor and the legislative leaders will meet over the next two weeks and iron out any differences they may have on this bill so the state can access the nine billion dollars of transportation funds awaiting our match at the federal level and so we can avoid losing another construction season and a ten percent increase in costs to the taxpayers of Illinois,” said SIU President and co-Chairman of the Illinois Works Coalition Glenn Poshard.
In addition to supporting more than 500,000 jobs statewide, Illinois Works will address the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges, build and repair schools across the state, and provide resources for statewide economic development. The final bill is drawn from a set of recommendations presented by Illinois Works Coalition Co-Chairs Former Speaker of the U.S. House J. Dennis Hastert and Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard. For the last three months, Hastert and Poshard have led the effort to build consensus on a statewide infrastructure improvement bill. The last capital bill was passed in 1999.
“This is the time for a capital bill. We have waited long enough for road and bridge infrastructure, for updated classrooms, and for community development. The House leadership has acknowledged the need, but killed Illinois Works with a procedural maneuver; and we will not stand for that,” said Representative Jay Hoffman (D – Collinsville).
“There are so many people struggling in these tough times,” said Senator Larry Bomke (R-Springfield). “But if we pass the capital plan, these same people can have a better quality of life and their communities can be improved. More jobs, better education and better roads are what Springfield really needs.”
“I’m remaining hopeful and keeping my fingers crossed that the general assembly will pass the capital plan,” said Senator Deanna Demuzio (D- Carlinville). “I’m also excited about the positive things that it will bring to my district and to the rest of this state. We really need this to happen sooner rather than later.”
“It’s been nine years since we passed a capital plan and our communities are suffering for it. We have roads, bridges and schools in desperate need of repair and families in desperate need of good jobs,” said Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). “We must put partisan issues and petty personality conflicts aside and work together to help people.”
“Every legislator can relate to the outcry for more jobs, better education and improved roads. Now here is our chance to make it all a reality. Let’s come together and pass the capital plan. Our constituents are depending on us,” said Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield).
“We cannot not pass up an opportunity that will enrich every community in Illinois,” said Representative Rich Brauer (R-Springfield). “This capital plan is definitely needed in every area of our state. I know we need it here in Central Illinois.”
In early March, Gov. Blagojevich appointed Hastert and Poshard as co-chairs of the Illinois Works Coalition. The duo focused on crafting and passing an infrastructure and jobs bill that would address pressing capital needs that have built up since the last public works plan was passed nine years ago all in a bi-partisan effort. The co-chairs facilitated regular meetings with the Governor and four legislative caucuses to draft a capital plan that could be acceptable to all participants. Three of the four leaders participated in those negotiations. In the end, the House Democratic leadership used procedural maneuvers to kill the negotiated capital plan before it could be voted on by the full House.
Two weeks ago Governor Blagojevich announced that the Fiscal Year 2009 budget passed by the General Assembly on Saturday contains $2.1 billion more in spending than anticipated revenue will support, making it unconstitutional. The Illinois State Constitution requires the legislature to pass a balanced budget. The Governor has called the four legislative leaders together this week to resume work so the people of Illinois will have a budget that fulfills constitutional requirements and meets the state’s needs by July 1.
The Illinois Works capital plan passed by the Senate includes the following:
· Invest $34 billion in transportation, education, energy, health care, environmental and water, economic development and other critical infrastructure and quality of life needs for the citizens of Illinois.
· Provide a capital improvement plan clearly identifying timelines, priorities and funding sources for projects within each of these investment categories.
· Fund education construction projects and mass transportation investments with $7 billion partial lottery concession.
· Create Capital and Educational Trust Funds with “lockbox” accountability guarantees for capital investments and continuation of the current level of lottery proceeds for P-12 education.
· Use motor fuel taxes to support bonded road projects that allow nearly $2 billion in additional projects
· Expand gaming (Chicago Casino, one additional riverboat license, increases in positions at existing riverboats, and availability of electronic gaming at racetracks) to raise $600 million annually in new revenues for debt service for environmental and water, energy, economic development, health care, state facilities, and other critical purposes.
According to a study the study by Southern Illinois University, a comprehensive capital plan would have tremendous economic benefits for the state. The study found a capital plan would create 535,000 new full-time jobs, lead to $49 billion in economic activity and more than $2.9 billion in state and local tax revenues. The Illinois Works Coalition has held a dozen events statewide since the beginning of March.
Examples of local capital projects in the Springfield and Decatur area include:
- $3.5 million for the reconstruction of 0.7 mile and preliminary engineering of Brush College Road at the Railroad Underpass between Faries Parkway and Cerro Gordo Street in Decatur.
- $950,000 for a new bridge on IL 48 at Mosquito Creek
- $61.4 million for the construction of additional lanes for 6.3 miles, land acquisition and utility adjustments, thus completing the 4-lane roadway from Springfield to Taylorville for Illinois 29 from 0.8 mile south of Berry to 1.2 miles south of Edinburg, including a bypass east of Edinburg.
- $35 million for the construction of additional lanes for 4.3 miles, land acquisition and utility adjustments for Illinois 97/Illinois 125 from Covered Bridge Road to West of Illinois 4 in Springfield.
- $9 million for Phase I engineering for environmental, design and location studies and for Phase II engineering for contract plans for a new bridge for Illinois 104 over the Illinois River at Meredosia.
$23 million for the construction of additional lanes for 2 miles, Phase II engineering for contract plans, land acquisition and utility adjustments for West Wabash from Interstate 72 to Koke Mill Lane.
$30 million for new roadway construction of 4 miles of a 4-lane expressway, land acquisition and utility adjustments to US 51 (Assumption Bypass) from 1.5 miles north of Assumption to 1.1 miles south.
- $1.7 million for 2.3 miles of resurfacing Bruce / Findley Road from Township Road 169 to Illinois 32.
- $1.3 million for a new bridge on Illinois 97 at Prairie Creek.
- $10.18 million for the Rochester Community Unit School District
- $10,000,000 for Southern Illinois University School of Medicine at Springfield to construct a Regional Center for Patient Safety, including a simulation training center.
- $6,891,200 to capital improvements to the University of Illinois – Springfield.
- $4,200,000 for the Prairie Capitol Convention Center.
- $2,100,000 for the Decatur Civic Center.
- $2,000,000 for the Capitol Airport for the Air National Guard
- $ 4,650,000 for the Illinois State Fairgrounds, including:
o $3,212,000- For replacing the HVAC in the administration building
o $1,438,000- For replacing the administration building roof
- $43,761,500 for the Capital Building to upgrade the HVAC systems and for renovations to meet compliance with ADA.
- $5,753,000 for electrical infrastructure at the Springfield Fairgrounds for the Department of Agriculture.
- $6,000,000 for the Capitol Building to upgrade life safety protection systems.
- $3,500,000 for the Howlett Building to plan and begin the upgrade of the HVAC system.
- $791,000 for the Howlett Building to install an emergency generator.
- $528,000 for the Illinois State Library to replace the roofing system.
- $771,000 for the Capitol Complex to upgrade the fire alarm panels.
- $100,000,000 for the renovation or replacement of the Stratton Office Building.
- $570,000 for Lincoln’s Tomb to renovate the interior.
- $1,000,000 for the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office to purchase and restore the Tinsley Shop.
- $2,800,000 for the McFarland Mental Health Center to upgrade the fire alarm systems.
- $1,381,000 Jacksonville Developmental Center- Morgan County, including:
o $581,000- For upgrading fire/life safety systems
o $800,000- For upgrading coal distribution systems
- $372,000 for the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired at Jacksonville to replace roofs
- $120,000 for the Willard Ice Building to repair an emergency generator.
- $2,791,000 for the Willard Ice Building to repair or renovate a parking ramp.
- $1,434,500 for the Attorney General Building in Springfield, including:
o $475,000- For installing an emergency generator.
o $959,000- For replacing electronic ballasts.
$829,000 for the Logan Correctional Center to replace housing unit roofs.
- $3,000,000 for the American General Building in Springfield to install an emergency generator and various improvements.
- $2,147,000 for the Lincoln Correctional Center to upgrade the building automation system.