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Ironic that Blagojevich is worried about road funds     Send a link to a friend

From Sen. Bill Brady

[AUG. 16, 2005]  In mid-July, I noted that the state of Illinois might lose out on federal road dollars because of decisions by the Blagojevich administration to divert millions each year from the state's Road Fund. My concerns were based on a briefing by U.S. Speaker Dennis Hastert's staff during a trip to Washington, D.C., on July 19.

Now, three weeks later, the governor is expressing concern that the state might not have sufficient funds to match federal dollars being provided for Illinois in the federal transportation funding bill. And he is typically looking to blame someone else for the problems resulting from his decisions!

The governor has stolen more than $1.1 billion from the Road Fund over three years, and that puts at great risk whether or not we will be able to secure federal matching dollars. And, in true Blagojevich fashion, he is blaming someone else.

The governor suggests a lack of matching funds results from the Legislature's lack of support for one of his many fiscal schemes. Late in May, he surprised everyone with a plan to borrow an additional $2 billion for road projects -- which would cost taxpayers as much as $4 billion to repay. The plan did not pass because it would have added to the state's already staggering debt. His plan also had no new revenue source to repay the debt.

The administration also did not provide specific details about how the $2 billion was to be spent -- no dates, no dollar figures for specific projects, no guarantees that they would ever be funded. Lawmakers simply could not take the governor at his word that this money would indeed be spent on road improvements.

Such trust issues are not an exclusive concern of Senate Republicans. Members of the governor's own party have concerns too, because they insisted on 66 memorandums of understanding this year, to hold the governor to his word.

[News release from Sen. Bill Brady, District 44]

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