* Decatur Herald & Review…
Six months after lawmakers hastily passed their first state budget in two years, transportation advocates are sounding the alarm on a little-noticed item that will take $300 million from road repairs to pay other expenses each year. […]
The result, transportation advocates say, is a fatal blow to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s construction schedule that was already struggling to keep up with deteriorating roads and bridges. After the budget passed, IDOT’s planned highway improvements went from 400 miles of work to 189, a fraction of the more than 3,500 miles of state roads currently in need of reconstruction across Illinois. […]
Most of the diverted money is paying for bonds that were used to make already-completed improvements to the Regional Transit Authority, which serves public transit in the Chicago area.
* Check out the carefully worded responses to Cullerton’s claim here…
“The idea for this came from the Senate Republicans on behalf of the Rauner administration,” said John Patterson, spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.
A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady’s office responded in an email. “This was a proposal that Democrats adopted, put in their budget and passed mostly with Democrat votes in the Illinois Senate.”
A spokeswoman for Rauner said Brady’s proposal as the lead Republican budget negotiator included $180 million from the road fund to pay for RTA bond payments. “The Democrats’ enacted FY18 budget, which Gov. Rauner vetoed, increased this cost shift to approximately $300 million,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Tomev said.