Gov. Pat Quinn is hoping to create a new state construction program in the spring session. (Photo used by creative commons under Flickr user waitscm)
By Jim Anderson
SPRINGFIELD - The political effort is about to begin on the creation of a new state construction program.
Illinois Jobs Now, the program that was enacted in 2009, runs out in the middle of next year. Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the governor wants to keep the money flowing.
“Between Illinois Jobs Now and the Tollway’s Move Illinois program, there has been a commitment to almost $30 billion in capital investments in our transportation system," said Schneider. "I can tell you that the governor feels very strongly that it is time now to think about the next capital program, and he will be working on that during the spring session."
Illinois Jobs Now is worth $30 billion over five years, but not all of it is for transportation. The Illinois Tollway program is worth $12 billion over 15 years.
Also, the $105 billion federal transportation program enacted last year runs out at the end of September 2014. Schneider said she hopes members of Congress can enact a five- or six-year program by then. She said it will be necessary to “educate” the Illinois delegation to bring home the bacon for Illinois, since half of the members are or will be new since 2009.