Yet another failure
Tuesday, Feb 7, 2017
* This Tribune story about a stalled project at Olive-Harvey College on the city’s South Side of a “Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center” to train folks for “careers in automotive technology, applied engineering, the repair and maintenance of heavy equipment and supply chain management” is an interesting read.
The story is kinda all over the place, however, so here’s a straighter timeline.
* The project was a partnership between the state and City Colleges announced way back in March of 2012 - almost five years ago - by Gov. Quinn and Mayor Emanuel. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2013. The state share was $31.6 million with City Colleges putting in $13.2 million.
When the budget passed by the General Assembly was vetoed by Gov. Rauner in 2015, the state halted construction on the 60 percent-completed center because it claimed it didn’t have appropriation authority.
In March of 2016, City Colleges and the mayor announced they were taking over the project. By that time, the project needed an additional $23 million to finish, which included $4 million in new costs because the facility was damaged during the eight-month delay.
But the same day of the takeover announcement last year, the Capital Development Board sent the city a letter saying state law required it to supervise construction that involve state funds…
The City Colleges takeover was no more.
Then, this past August, CDB informed City Colleges that it had funding for the project and also told contractors to get back to work. But that turned out to be a “premature” statement, Golden admitted to the Tribune. Construction didn’t commence.
Last month, CDB formally shelved the project again.
To date, the state has spent $24 million and City Colleges has spent about $2 million, according to the Tribune.
* The finger-pointing from the mayor’s office…
The response from the governor’s office…
* Look, if there are no appropriations, how is the thing supposed to be built? Speaking of which, why did CDB say it had the money last August when it didn’t? Or did it have the money? And color me a tad skeptical of the city’s 2016 announcement that it would complete the project on its own. With what cash?
This is the sort of wholesale failure caused by the impasse and the inability of leaders to work with each other.
But what’s done is done. Instead of pointing fingers, the mayor needs to get involved and help pass a budget. You know, those bills that contain appropriations for things like construction projects.
For instance, where is Mayor Emanuel on the Senate’s grand bargain? Or is he more allied with the House Democrats?
* What we’ve come to in this state is the constant use of bogeymen to mask and/or excuse failure. Gov. Rauner does it with Speaker Madigan on an almost hourly basis. Mayor Emanuel has taken to doing the same with Gov. Rauner.
I prefer leaders who get things done.