billion capital works plan for Illinois proposed
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[August 01, 2008]
CHICAGO -- On Thursday, Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich unveiled a compromise for a slimmed-down $25 billion
Illinois Works capital plan proposal to invest in revitalizing the
state's roads, bridges, classrooms and communities. The governor,
who announced the plan with former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis
Hastert, R-Ill., worked with the legislative leaders to negotiate a
plan that eliminates expanding gaming as a revenue source.
The plan was unveiled following the leaders' meeting Thursday
with Senate President Emil Jones, Senate Minority Leader Frank
Watson, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, House Majority Leader
Barbara Flynn Currie and members of the Illinois Works coalition.
"Every day we see another valid reason for an Illinois Works
capital plan," Blagojevich said. "Illinois' unemployment rate is at
a 15-year high, with some of our communities, including Metro East
St. Louis, Kankakee and Rockford, having been hit particularly hard.
Our bridges, while among the safest in the nation, need an influx in
capital to ensure that we continue to keep them safe. Plus, we
continue to get additional indication from Washington, D.C., that
the Highway Trust Fund would run low on funds, and we need to get in
line. That's why I am proposing a compromise to gain more support
from the House Democrats and pass Illinois Works capital plan this
At Thursday's meeting, Jones, Watson and Cross joined the
governor in supporting the proposed compromise. Hastert and Southern
Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, co-chairmen of the
Illinois Works coalition, have supported the $25 billion capital
plan as well, calling the plan a good compromise to bring everyone
This past spring Hastert and Poshard announced their
recommendations for a capital infrastructure plan, along with the
revenue streams to pay for it, after a comprehensive statewide
listening tour and a series of meetings with Blagojevich and
legislative leaders. When those recommendations were presented to
the caucuses, no one voiced concern. However, when the time came for
a vote on May 31, some House Democrats cited the gaming expansion as
an impediment to passage. The governor heard those concerns and is
asking for a compromise.
"Over the last few weeks, I have worked with the governor and
legislative leaders to put together a capital plan that could pass
through both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly," Hastert
said. "Today, we believe we have a compromise. That compromise
removes the expansion of gaming, which seemed to concern some
elected officials, and as a result we have gone from a $34 billion
plan, which was needed, to a $25 billion plan that can be funded.
What is clear to me, clear to the governor and clear to many in the
General Assembly is that Illinois cannot wait another year for a
capital plan. We need a compromise and we need it now."
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The $25 billion Illinois Works capital plan announced by the
governor on Thursday includes the following:
Investment of more
than $14.4 billion in roads projects, $4.1 billion in education
facilities, $3.4 billion in public transit and rail, $800 million
for environment and water, $310 million in state facilities, $100
million in health care facilities, $425 million in economic
development, and more than $1.4 billion in other critical
infrastructure and quality-of-life needs for the citizens of
Provides a capital improvement plan clearly identifying
timelines, priorities and funding sources for projects within each
of these investment categories.
Funds education construction projects and mass transportation
investments with a $7 billion partial concession of the Illinois
Creates a Capital Trust Fund and an Educational Trust Fund with
"lockbox" accountability guarantees for capital investments and
continuation of the current level of lottery proceeds for preschool
through high school education.
Uses $150 million in excess motor fuel taxes to support $1.6
billion in additional road projects.
Uses $100 million in excess state sales taxes on motor fuels to
support $1.3 billion in additional projects.
According to a study by Southern Illinois University, a
comprehensive capital plan would have tremendous economic benefits
for the state. The study found that a $25 billion capital plan would
create 443,000 new full-time jobs, lead to $32 billion in economic
activity and generate more than $2.3 billion in state and local tax
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]