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Illinois Works Coalition

Illinois Works Coalition Update 09/03/08

As many of you have already heard, great progress was made during the Democratic National Convention in Denver this past week, when at a meeting of the Illinois delegation Governor Rod Blagojevich and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan put aside their differences and embraced to a rousing applause from their fellow Democratic delegates. For further detail, please visit Crain's Chicago Business:


This embrace between the Governor and the Speaker could spur further progress in the passage of the $25 billion Illinois Works capital plan. 


When the Governor called legislators back to Springfield for a special session weeks ago, Speaker Madigan noted that great progress was made and that he was very optimistic all sides could come to an agreement and pass a comprehensive capital plan in the near future. It is now clear that Speaker Madigan is prepared to act on this progress and help pass a jobs bill that will jumpstart the state's economy, repair and rebuild our roads and bridges and put hundreds of thousands of people to work in all corners of the state like the Governor has been pushing all Summer long.


Furthermore, we are happy to report some very encouraging news on the passage of the Illinois Works capital bill. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan appeared on WBBM's "At Issues" program over the Labor Day weekend and stated that he would call the House back to Springfield for a regular session by the middle of the month to try to pass legislation to lease the state Lottery in order to fund the Illinois Works plan.


It is understood that House members have been sent a memo by Speaker Madigan saying they should prepare to return to Springfield next Wednesday at 11 o’clock, with committee hearings at 11:30. They are also being told to prepare to stay overnight for Thursday business and that business will include the Lottery lease, funds sweep and veto overrides.


Should the House reconvene in mid-September and pass the Illinois Works bill, it would still require passage by the Illinois Senate. While Senate leadership does not plan to meet again until the fall veto session in November, it is possible that Senate President Emil Jones could call his chamber back to specifically address passing Illinois Works.


We need to let our legislators know that, while we're proud of the progress we've made in bringing the two sides together, we need real action and real solutions to our immediate infrastructure needs – and that solution is to pass the Illinois Works capital plan.

Illinois Works Coalition Update 08/18/08

The special session called by Governor Blagojevich ended last night with the House of Representatives passing a skeleton capital plan aimed at taking advantage of a small percentage of federal matching funds promised in the 2005 federal transportation appropriations bill.

Unfortunately, the $360 million plan only captures a sliver of the more than $9 billion of federal dollars available to the state. Additionally, the bill requires approval from the State Senate, which adjourned earlier in the day, and will not reconvene until the fall veto session. The $360 million plan appropriates funds to previously earmarked construction projects, but does not come close to covering the total costs needed to complete these few projects. Simply stated, the bill passed by the House last night falls woefully short of meeting our state's immediate and long-term infrastructure needs. Obviously there is still work to be done.

However, positive steps in the right direction have been made.  House Speaker Michael Madigan said yesterday that "the prospects look very, very good" regarding the lease of the state lottery and passing a capital bill.

While it's clear that your efforts on behalf of the Illinois Works coalition have been instrumental in overcoming major obstacles, we must continue to stress that our elected officials in Springfield need to pass a comprehensive capital plan that invests in our state's infrastructure, provides an immediate boost to our economy and puts hundreds of thousands of people to work now.

Please visit and write to your legislators, letting them know that it is vital that they continue working together to compromise and pass the Illinois Works plan during the fall veto session.

Illinois Works

Download the revised $25 billion Illinois Works capital bill!

Governor Blagojevich announces compromise for new $25 billion
capital plan at Leaders' meeting

Governor announces compromise to pass a jobs bill this fall; new plan does not include expanded gaming as revenue source

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today unveiled a compromise for a slimmed down $25 billion Illinois Works capital plan proposal to invest in revitalizing our state’s roads, bridges, classrooms and communities. The Governor, who announced the plan with former US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), worked with the legislative leaders to negotiate a plan that eliminates expanding gaming as a revenue source.


Illinois Works in the News

Madigan calls House Back Over Stalled Capital Plan
Crain's Chicago Business
September 3, 2008
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has called his members back to work next week in Springfield, a gathering Gov. Rod Blagojevich hopes might break the logjam over a stalled statewide capital construction program.

Gov. Hopes House Will Hug Lottery Deal
Chicago Sun-Times
September 3, 2008
Will the celebrated hugfest at the Democratic National Convention produce concrete results for Illinois — in the form of a long-stalled capital plan for roads, mass transit and school construction?

Blagojevich Proposes Smaller Capital Plan
August 1, 2008
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is proposing a scaled-down capital plan, to repair the state’s roads, bridges, and schools. That’s after a more expensive public works proposal was shot down by house Democrats.

Blagojevich scales back construction plan
July 31, 2008
Lawmakers say Governor Rod Blagojevich has proposed ratcheting down the price tag of a statewide construction program and is abandoning a proposal to expand gambling to pay for it.

What Illinois Citizens are Saying

I am very concerned about the state of the infrastructure in Illinois. We need to fix, not put band aides on it. Driving has become quite hazardous with dodging potholes. I drive from Crete to Chicago Heights, and have already had to replace tires on my car twice due to hitting potholes. The story is the same for every person in my office. This is a horrible commentary on the state of our roads. We need to put money into our infrastructure. Not doing so is no longer an option. Roads are too important to our daily lives and the state of our State's economy.

Jeanne Hook, Chicago Heights

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