Capital Bill

Governor J-B Pritzker says higher education in Illinois will receive a much-needed pick-me-up under the new "Rebuild Illinois" program.

The governor joined lawmakers and university presidents in Springfield Friday to celebrate the capital plan's investments.

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A southern Illinois lawmaker says his district did very well in the state budget approved over the weekend.

Senator Dale Fowler of Harrisburg says the budget includes lump sum money for ports across the state, including his proposal for a facility at Cairo.

Illinois lawmakers doubled the gas tax, raised vehicle registration fees and the tax on tobacco – all to gather money for a $45 billion statewide construction program.

Negotiations spilled into the weekend as an agreement on a gambling package – the primary funding mechanism for building improvements throughout the state – fell apart on Friday, the last day of the spring legislative session.

A group of House Republicans met with the media in Springfield Tuesday to discuss taxes and fees proposed to help fund a capital bill.

Representative Blaine Wilhour from Effingham says Illinois should wait to see the federal infrastructure plan.

Affordable-housing advocates are joining the chorus calling on Illinois lawmakers to approve an infrastructure plan.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is finally getting specific on what could be in a massive statewide building plan — and what taxes and fees could be raised to pay for it.

Drive down a major road or highway in Illinois and you’ll likely feel the bump of potholes. A report from TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based research group, put a number on what it costs drivers to travel these roads — $18.3 billion. That includes additional car repairs, time lost in traffic, and crashes caused by poor road conditions.

Lawmakers are using the new report to push for a multibillion-dollar infrastructure plan, paid for in part by a gas tax hike and higher vehicle and registration fees.

Illinois lawmakers say they’re ready to move ahead with a major road construction program. It would mean tax and fee increases on gasoline, license plates and driver’s licenses.

Illinois Capital Bill Faces Bumpy Road

May 6, 2019

1929 was a busy year.

The first car radio is made, sunglasses were invented, Switzerland invented the chainsaw, London installed the first public telephone booth, the first Academy Awards honoring film industry achievement were given out, and Popeye sailed into comic strips.

Locally, after two years of construction, the US 60/62 bridge opened over the Mississippi River connecting Illinois and Missouri.

David Sam, president of Elgin Community College, said Wednesday the school has received nearly $1 million in donated equipment to help train workers for manufacturing jobs. But there’s a problem  he doesn’t have the space on campus to put it.

“Most of us don’t even have the space to put the equipment so that we can train the much-needed individuals to serve the manufacturing community,” Sam said during a news conference at the statehouse. 

Former Republican congressman and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made a pitch Monday for Illinois to raise its gas tax.

The Peoria native told a panel of lawmakers he would champion the tax hike even though his fellow Republicans may be opposed.

“I remember the days like many of you do when Illinois was a great state, when we had great infrastructure, when we were able to attract business to our state,” said LaHood, who headed the U.S. Department of Transportation under former President Barack Obama. “That’s what we want to get back to.”

Officials from each of Illinois' public universities traveled to the statehouse this week to tell lawmakers about their leaky roofs, outdated science labs and broken air conditioners, in hopes of getting funding to fix them. It’s part of a push toward a public works program, known in the legislature as a capital bill. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has promised the state will spend billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements, and public agencies are lining up to ask for a piece of that pie.

Crumbling sidewalks, gas line failures and cracked concrete — the problems at Brookfield Zoo are a metaphor for what’s wrong with public infrastructure throughout Illinois.

As lawmakers begin negotiating a statewide spending plan to fix it, the zoo is among a growing list of those coming to Springfield with their paws out.

The Chicago Zoological Society, the nonprofit that runs the zoo, is asking state lawmakers for help rehabbing and improving its facilities from a promised capital plan.

A state lawmaker has proposed a plan to use state funds to build a new higher education center in downtown Springfield.

State Senator Andy Manar (D, Bunker Hill) introduced legislation on Wednesday that calls for $50 million to build a campus and public affairs center. The proposed building would sit within a mile of Southern Illinois University's existing medical school.

The need for new or repaired roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure in Illinois continues to outpace the amount of funding available to complete the projects. With a new governor and legislative session starting in January, discussions have already started with an aim to change that.

Illinois lawmakers say they’ve begun discussing a potential capital bill. It would fund construction and repair projects for the state’s infrastructure over the next several years.


Illinois lawmakers have reached an agreement on a new budget hours before the May 31st deadline.

State Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, says the package is similar to what Governor Bruce Rauner proposed. She says the final product is a result of compromise.  

The Illinois House has approved legislation that funds continued work on nearly $20 billion worth of capital construction projects.

Jennifer Fuller

Local communities are getting their share of this year's Capital Funding from the state, money which will be used to upgrade roads and bridges all over the region.