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Hinz: Pritzker capital bill proposal coming “very soon”

Monday, May 13, 2019

* Greg Hinz

Pritzker’s people tell me they’ll be floating their own version of the capital bill “very soon.”

That would be helpful, because the Sandoval bill is getting all sorts of play, and not necessarily in a good way.

* Rep. Welch also chairs the House Executive Committee, so pay attention to what he says

The motor fuel tax bump would be a hard pitch for Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, from Hillside, to make to his constituents, he said.

“From 19 cents to 44 cents a gallon for gas is a lot of money and to go home and try to explain that to people — that’s hard to do, especially in a district like the one I serve,” Welch said.

And Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills, said while it is “clear” the roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure in the state need attention, raising the motor fuel tax is not the way to pay for it.

“I oppose this bill because I don’t support an increase to the gas tax, and I think we need a capital bill, but I think we should use the revenue from the sports gambling bill,” he said.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to legalize that practice, and he projected $200 million in revenues from sports gambling licensing fees in his proposed budget. It is one of several revenue streams in Pritzker’s budget that are not guaranteed to become law.

$200 million wouldn’t even make a dent in the problem.

…Adding… Rep. McSweeney…


Sports gambling will likely produce closer to $300 million. Even if you use a $200 million annual revenue stream, you could issue about $2 billion of debt based on that. I support bonding for a capital bill. The current proposals do not yet have a bonding component.

* For example

As is the case everywhere, the needs across Sangamon County and the city of Springfield are numerous. However, in their meeting with [Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell], local leaders made clear their top priority — without a close second — is securing the funds necessary to complete the remaining phases of the Springfield Rail Improvements Project.

“If you want one project, and that was driven home by the deputy governor, is ‘OK, is this really your top priority with rail?’ I said yes, without a doubt it is,” [Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder] said. “So, to me, it signified you have limited funds, what do you want with those limited funds if you get one request?”

The capital request, put together by local political and civic leaders in conjunction with the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation, includes $121.2 million needed for the completion of the rail project.

The project, which started with rail underpass construction on Carpenter Street in 2014 and has an overall price tag of $315 million, aims to alleviate rail congestion downtown by consolidating train traffic from Third Street to 10th Street and through building a series of overpasses and underpasses along the corridor.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Former State Worker - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Sports gambling/EV Registration hike bill would raise $208 million.

    Getting closer to $2.4 Billion. /s

  2. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    “$200 million wouldn’t even make a dent in the problem”

    It is a start and legalizing and then taxing sports betting is a voluntary tax on individuals that freely choose to gamble. No one constituency would feel slighted by imposing a sports betting tax.

  3. - Annon For Now - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Everything costs money. Curious to see how few ribbon cuttings any proposal from the top results in.

  4. - I Miss Bentohs - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    The “high speed” rail nonsense is annoying. A lot of money for very little benefit whereas we could be using that money to fix roads that save lives.

  5. - City Zen - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    Guessing the new motor fuel tax is going to begin with a 3, not a 4.

  6. - Been There - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    ===$200 million wouldn’t even make a dent in the problem===
    And we are only talking transportation here with the gas tax. We are going to have to come up with a way to pay for vertical also.

  7. - Juice - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    The $200 million isn’t the annual revenue stream. That’s the amount that the administration is hoping to get from license fees. (And my understanding was that the license holders would get a credit against future taxes, reducing the annual revenue number for at last a couple of years.)

    Anyways, New Jersey brought in about $3.7 million in March (which is one of the stronger months for sports wagering out of the year). Adjust for a full year and the population difference between Illinois and New Jersey and you get…absolutely no way to arriving at $200 million annually in taxes from sports betting.

  8. - Boat captain - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    I agree with I Miss. There are roads that need fixed before the rail stuff. The roads affect more people than the rail improvement.

  9. - Dan Johnson - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 4:03 pm:

    So this post lays it out really well how valuable getting those early and realistic capital bills out there have been — there is a HUGE disconnect between the demand for capital and the taxes to pay for it, and having these very public conversations about what it takes to pay for our infrastructure is necessary to get closer to a public consensus.

  10. - Railrat - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    Anything that makes local 150 happy happens

  11. - A 400lb. Guy on a bed - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 4:37 pm:

    Would someone please explain basic economics to McSweeney?

  12. - wordslinger - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 5:08 pm:

    –Pritzker’s people tell me they’ll be floating their own version of the capital bill “very soon.”–

    I’d guess they’d have to, if they want one.

    Everything is clear as mud at this point.

    – Even if you use a $200 million annual revenue stream, you could issue about $2 billion of debt based on that. –

    McSweeney needs to explain how many years he’s talking about bonding out, and the expected juice.

    Not exactly “fiscally conservative” to bond out 30 years for roads that will need to be repaved in 10.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 5:24 pm:

    ===Sports gambling will likely produce…===

    Gotta pass first, Representative.

  14. - Proud Sucker - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 5:32 pm:

    No, No, No, Rep. McSweeney (and others). You float paper for new construction, not maintenance. We have bonded in the past for maintenance and replacements (not new assets) and then have had no capital plan for the next decade - plus. Maintenance is continuous, therefore it should be tagged to continuous revenue, i.e. taxes and fees. Bridge replacements are the only exception to this as their life-cycle is four to five times that of pavement.

  15. - Anonymous - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 5:54 pm:

    There should be nothing new built in whatever capital plan comes out. Illinois is shrinking and is likely to continue on it’s current decline.

  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, May 13, 19 @ 6:01 pm:

    The “rail” improvements that would benefit the most people would apply to CTA and Metra. These systems carry the same # of passengers in a few days as Amtrak in IL carries in a year.

  17. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 6:36 am:

    ==The “high speed” rail nonsense is annoying. A lot of money for very little benefit whereas we could be using that money to fix roads that save lives.==

    Ironic comment. Because the infrastructure component of high speed rail has been finished. What’s left is the lifesaving component, positive train control. That still has to be installed and tested.

  18. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 7:11 am:

    And of course PTC saves lives with slow trains too.

  19. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 7:32 am:

    The infrastructure component is well on its way but far from complete in the true sense of the word. Joliet-Chicago, the St. Louis end, and many gaps in the ultimate double-tracking of the corridor remain.

  20. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, May 14, 19 @ 9:02 am:

    I’m basing info on this Chicago magazine article from Feb 2019. The PTC test and newer faster engines are all that are needed according to the author. Maybe you have inside information?

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