(E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Gov. Pritzker Releases Public Works Plan

May 18, 2019 - 10:56 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It’s finally here -- a proposed $41.5 billion public works plan called Rebuild Illinois.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office presented it to lawmakers Friday. If enacted, it would be the first capital construction plan for the state in a decade.

Mike Sturino, president and CEO of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, says the construction proposed is a 70-30 split between horizontal (roads and bridges) and vertical (buildings).

Paying the freight (as proposed): a 19-cent increase in the gas tax, which is already 19 cents; a new system of paying your auto registration in which the newer your car is, the more you’ll pay; taxes on entertainment such as cable television and streaming; and much more.

“We believe that increases in funding that are needed that are going to be spent on our transportation will receive bipartisan support, and we expect that,” Sturino told WBBM Newsradio.

Any suggestion that the number of ribbons cut in any district will be tied to that district’s support of the governor’s graduated income tax proposal is, in Sturino’s view, a conspiracy theory.

In an e-mailed statement, the governor’s spokeswoman, Jordan Abudayyeh, said:

“As a result of working group sessions with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle from both chambers of the general assembly, the administration is working on a preliminary draft of a comprehensive capital plan that will put 540,000 Illinoisans back to work and finally fix our crumbling infrastructure. The administration looks forward to continuing to engaging in productive conversations before the proposal is finalized.”

In an e-mailed statement, Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington said:

“Members of my caucus, who were part of the capital working group, received a briefing on the governor’s proposal this afternoon.  We look forward to these discussions continuing as we work toward a plan that addresses our state’s critical infrastructure needs and creates jobs.”

In an e-mailed statement, Illinois Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Todd Maisch said:

"We appreciate that the Governor’s Office has begun their capital conversation in earnest with a specific revenue and spending package, some of which the business community supports," said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. "We are encouraged to see some of the ideas the Illinois Chamber has promoted included in their plan. However, most of the revenue in the governor’s proposal is not new revenue for additional maintenance and new projects, but rather existing state, federal, and local sources that were already planned. We look forward to learning more about all proposals and working towards a bipartisan solution.

"One particular concern in the governor’s plan, is the reliance on a new media streaming tax for non-transportation construction. The Chamber believes this will be an unreliable foundation for funding because it will be complex, unpopular and possibly unconstitutional."