Government
5:58 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Central Illinois bridges, roads slated for new state funding

Illinois will invest another $8.6 billion into roads, bridges and other projects. It's the latest installment of a major infrastructure plan lawmakers passed in 2010. Now, Governor Pat Quinn is calling for a new one. But he’s not saying where the money should come from.

The 2010 infrastructure program known as Illinois Jobs Now!  has funded thousands of miles of road repairs so far, paid for by higher taxes on alcohol, candy and soft drinks; a higher license plate fee; and revenue from video poker.

Quinn has parceled out announcing those plans over the past several years. The latest include a new bridge in Moline, bridge replacements on the Stevenson Expressway in Chicago, and work on I-74 near Champaign. But that program is winding down.

In his budget speech, Gov. Quinn called for a new one to address ever-present infrastructure needs. A transportation group has proposed hiking Illinois' vehicle registration fees, adding a sales tax to oil changes and car washes and a higher tax on gasoline.

"I think that's a depleting resource; I think using the gas tax to fund our future would not be a wise idea."

But he offered no suggestions of his own. He's leaving it up to an as-yet unnamed, bipartisan panel of legislators to figure out how to pay for it.

The state’s new transportation plan includes more than $200 million to replace War Memorial Drive over the McCluggage Bridge in Peoria. Funding is also set aside to resurface I-74 in Knox and Peoria Counties, resurface interstate 4-74 near Morton and repair the Cedar Street Bridge over the Illinois River.