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Capital bill roundup

Thursday, Jun 6, 2019

* A circle can’t fit where a square should be takes a look at the capital bill

In Springfield, $350 million is earmarked for the Capitol complex, but it’s unclear for what. Messages left for the Capitol Architect on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

There’s also $122 million for the long-shuttered State Armory, which is right across the street from the Capitol in Springfield.

“The funding included in Rebuild Illinois will allow the state to return the Armory to a usable space and that work will include new HVAC, plumbing, electrical and an entirely new roof and renovations to the interior space,” Central Management Services Deputy Director Mike Deering said. “But right now we don’t have a determination of what agency or what it will be repurposed for.

“It’s just not usable, the water is turned off, all the different utilities, it needs to brought up to speed and for a safety standard,” Deering said. “It’s much needed for that facility.” […]

The plan includes $3.1 billion over several years for school construction. In the first, first year there’ll be $200 million available for grants. It goes up from there to $450 million the second year, $500 million each for years three and four. Year five there’ll be $800 million in grants awarded and each year after that there’ll be around $660 million available for school construction grants.

For higher education buildings, Eastern Illinois University is getting a new science building for $118.8 million.

“After a couple of decades we’ve got funding … for a new science building,” said Butler who’s a graduate of EIU. “There are so many high schools in the state of Illinois that have much better science facilities than EIU does and that’s a shame. There are tarps that are over some of the equipment to make sure the ceiling doesn’t fall on some of the equipment.”

* Mark Brown has an exhaustive list and this tidbit

I’m told state representatives were instructed to designate $2.5 million-$3 million worth of projects for their districts, while senators were allotted $5 million-$6 million, not to suggest everyone was treated equally.

Although many of those “member initiatives” are detailed in the legislation, H.B. 62, others are lumped together in large multi-billion categories with more specific appropriations expected to be disclosed later. […]

Individual legislator’s names are not listed with the earmarks in the legislation.

Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), the first Indian-American elected to the Senate, said he pushed for the new Pan Asian community center, which he envisions as a place for the area’s diverse and fast growing Asian population to come together for services of common need. He expects it to be located on the North Side or north suburbs with Skokie emerging as an early favorite.

I didn’t spot any obviously egregious taxpayer boondoggles in my first reading of the bill, which is not to say they aren’t in there.

Those member projects lists have been leaked in the past, so we’ll just have to see if that happens again.

…Adding… Daily Herald

State Sen. Cristina Castro confirmed she will receive $6 million in member initiative money. The former Kane County Board member said she isn’t giving any to Longmeadow. She’s committed her dollars to projects brought to her by local officials during the state budget process. […]

[Republican Sen. Don DeWitte] received “an awful lot of” funding requests for local projects. … DeWitte and fellow Republican state senators expect to receive about $4 million each from the member initiative pool.

* Click here for a decent explanation of how the new revenues will be divvied up. It was put together by a group affiliated with Local 150 of the Operating Engineers. Here’s a couple of charts

Distribution of Anticipated New Annual Revenues from Increasing Motor Fuel Taxes

Bonding Authority Increases for Transportation Projects

* Related…

* Pritzker’s Budget Funds Roadwork For South Suburban Airport: In May, Kelly reported that land acquisition and planning for the airport was 90 percent complete. The state so far owns 89 percent of the land where it will sit and is poised to secure the rest once all other details are in place. All FAA approvals are in place, except for the final, detailed construction plan by the contractor. What’s needed, she and the other elected officials said in a letter to Pritzker, was the funding to wrap up the final leg of the project. The new budget gave them $162 million to do that.

* Lawmakers pass bill for infrastructure - Granville mayor is pleased by the news

* Illinois Central College lands $5.1M in capital bill

* SIU Carbondale gets about $140 million in construction, upgrades in capital bill

* ISU staff optimistic to receive government funding; Money will be used for renovations

* Northlight Theatre receives $927,500 from newly announced statewide arts funding

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments »
  1. - 44th - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Does this mean the state has caught up on paying its bills? 1% a month in wasted late fees.


  2. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    There really needs to be a transparent process for Member Initiatives. I’m a political realist and I recognize the value of these projects in getting a capital bill passed, but we should be able to easily find out who requested what.


  3. - Montrose - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    “Does this mean the state has caught up on paying its bills? 1% a month in wasted late fees.”

    I don’t think you understand how a capital bill works.


  4. - Grand Avenue - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    I think the Center Square articles is getting millions and billions confused a few times


  5. - illini - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    My initial understanding was that those $3 to 6 million in “member initiatives” was separate from the capitol bill and to be used in their districts for needed local projects outside of the major funding projects. And that they would have discretion as to where it would be used. Was I wrong?


  6. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    How did they come up with the $122 million for the Armory? Based upon my limited exposure to the building, that may not be enough. Asbestos everywhere. Other than the ground floor, there are no ADA compliant restrooms - they’re all in the stairwell on the half level (when AFSCME left their old building AFL-CIO is in, the half level restrooms was a real issue). Are they going to renovate the tunnel to the tunnel between the Capitol and Stratton?


  7. - 62656 - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:14 am:

    Montrose, separation of expenditures into different funds that can’t be used to pay bills in other funds goes outside of how most people think about money, so you are probably correct.


  8. - Bemused - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    It would be nice to see the Armory Building refurbished. I went to a lot of concerts there back in the 70’s. It was a good venue for acts that would not fill something like the BOS center. One of the best shows I ever saw was Bob Segar at the Armory after his show at the State Fair got rained out. For some reason the Acoustics that night were great.


  9. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    Member initiatives (pork projects) are derided by the press and the goo-goos, but they’re vital to passing legislation for big projects. DC has been broken since they got rid of them, there’s often no other way to entice congress critters into voting in favor of something


  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    –In Springfield, $350 million is earmarked for the Capitol complex, but it’s unclear for what.–

    Deferred maintenance to Squeezy’s Lair in the Chamber of Secrets.

    That’s why it’s a secret.


  11. - Shemp - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    $122 million… “But right now we don’t have a determination of what agency or what it will be repurposed for.”

    This is why I have such distaste for the way the State operates.


  12. - unclesam - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    The likely highest priority at the State Capitol is to ensure all of the elevators are fixed and up to code.


  13. - LakeviewJ - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    “In Springfield, $350 million is earmarked for the Capitol complex, but it’s unclear for what.”

    *crosses fingers*

    New Stratton, new Stratton, new Stratton…


  14. - Leatherneck - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    Bruce Rushton took a cynical view of the capital bill in today’s Illinois Times:

    https://illinoistimes.com/article-21291-christmas-at-the-capitol.html


  15. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    “In Springfield, $350 million is earmarked for the Capitol complex, but it’s unclear for what.” Copper doors on the west side of the Capitol building of course.


  16. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    Some of these vertical projects seem to be very low priority projects. When there is a new urgent infrastructure need in 5 years, it will look pretty foolish to spend over $100M renovating a building that doesn’t even have a current plan for use.


  17. - Armchair Architect - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    Glad to see the Armory’s decline arrested. It would make a nice state-held gathering place for large public assemblies like the annual memorial services, and some state officials could use part of it as office space. I’d knock out the little building next to it and put a glass wall on the unadorned brick side of the Armory to make a nice atrium of the first floor.


  18. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    ==Copper doors on the west side of the Capitol building of course.==
    Anything but particle board or some other substance you have to replace every six months.


  19. - SSL - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    Nearly half a billion earmarked for two projects, but we don’t know what for? Amounts of $350MM and $122MM are a little large for unknowns. That’s how trust erodes.


  20. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    “Anything but particle board” $350M buys a lot of particle board.


  21. - School Construction - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    “The plan includes $3.1 billion over several years for school construction. In the first, first year there’ll be $200 million available for grants. It goes up from there to $450 million the second year, $500 million each for years three and four. Year five there’ll be $800 million in grants awarded and each year after that there’ll be around $660 million available for school construction grants.”
    This is bond authorization; not appropriation authority.


  22. - M - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 3:18 pm:

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to tear down the Armory and start over with a brand new building?


  23. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jun 6, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to tear down the Armory” That would depend a lot on what you want to replace it with. A Morton building? Yes. A steel and glass box? Probably. A building with character? Good question. But this is Springfield, it would wind up being a parking lot anyway.


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