* He’s having a heck of a week and it’s only Tuesday. WIFR TV…
Illinois. Gov. JB Pritzker says he’s on a mission to help Rockford “beat Beloit” in a tight race to build a casino.
Pritzker and Lt. Gov.Juliana Stratton joined Rockford-area lawmakers for a news conference on authorization of a casino license in Rockford.
Pritzker says the casino could generate hundreds of million dollars from across the state.
Right across the border, Ho-Chunk Nation is waiting on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to approve bringing a casino to Beloit.
Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) said the city is operating on a 24-48 month timeline to get the casino in Rockford.
* Northern Public Radio…
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker visited Rockford Monday morning to mark the start of the process toward building a new casino in the area.
Organizers handed out playing cards and poker chips that read “J.B. Bet On Us” and “Our Governor Is Aces.” A bill he signed last week allows for 6 new casinos statewide, mostly in cities near the Illinois border. Pritzker said casino revenue is a key component of his capital plan:
“This additional revenue helps ease some of the pressure on escalating property taxes,” he said, “and most importantly, we’re going to do everything possible to help Rockford beat Beloit and attract casino-goers from across the border.”
According to Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, the city alone could get anywhere from $4 to $8 million. The casino would also create some 600 construction jobs and over 1000 jobs just at the casino.
“This means jobs for families in our community. This means revenue to the city,” said McNamara. “So, we can not burden people with property taxes. This is a good deal.”
* Rockford Register-Star…
“From the first time we met, we had a number of asks outlined on behalf of the city of Rockford,” [Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara] said. “I am here to say that every single one of those, he delivered on.”
* WREX TV…
“I can tell you as a Republican, we have never had an opportunity where a governor stepped up, saw there was gridlock going on, and got people in to the room and made the case that we need to get this done,” [Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford] said. “The urgency of getting this done this year, and with the governor’s help we were finally able to get this done. We have an opportunity to bring those people back home and bring more back home.”
* Lake County News-Sun…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker received standing ovations and many thanks at Waukegan City Hall Monday as he tours the state highlighting his Rebuild Illinois Capital and Transportation programs that will benefit Lake County.
One of the bigger prizes was a casino license for Waukegan.
State Sen. Terry Link, D-Indian Creek, a former Waukegan resident, joked about how he has “in my spare time for the last 20 years, I’ve been working on a bill. I just kept misspelling some words and they’d cancel it. We’d do a few other things, and they’d cancel it,” he said, drawing laughter. […]
Under the capital program, money is earmarked for the following Lake County projects: $61 million for interchange construction at Routes 176 and 41 in Lake Bluff and North Chicago; $58.7 million for reconstruction and widening of State Route 22 in Kildeer and Long Grove; $45 million for stabilization of the Adeline Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park shoreline; $26.7 million for a new classroom building at the College of Lake County; $1.7 million for dredging on the Chain O’Lakes; $3.5 million for capital improvements at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago; and $1 million for renovations to North Chicago High School, according to the governor’s office.
At a news conference alongside Pritzker on Monday touting the capital bill, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wants the city casino to open “as soon as possible.
“Obviously we’ll be involved in the process,” Lightfoot said of the study. “I’m hoping we can get it done relatively soon, so we can start the process.” […]
A Chicago casino has eluded city officials as a potential cash cow since at least 1992, when former Mayor Richard M. Daley first floated a proposal. Link noted that Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the state’s most profitable gaming site, pulled in more than $440 million last year.
“And [Chicago’s casino] will be much more profitable than that,” the senator said.
Lightfoot, Pritzker and transit leaders appeared together at a news conference to discuss spending projects under the plan.
One of the projects planned for the Chicago area is the $561 million reconstruction of Interstate 190, the westernmost leg of the Kennedy Expressway, from Bessie Coleman Drive to Interstate 90. The project, which will include the addition of auxiliary lanes, is intended to improve safety and access to the expanding airport, according to the state.
Another $72.6 million will go toward improvements to 38 bridges on the Kennedy from the Edens Expressway to Hubbard Street, the state said.
Other big area road projects include $1 billion for the expansion of Interstate 80 in Will County, which will involve the replacement of two deteriorated bridges over the Des Plaines River in Joliet. The Illinois Department of Transportation also plans to spend $92 million to rebuild the intersection of 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue, which will include reconstruction of railroad bridges, plus bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
“Pardon our dust in the next few years while we rebuild Illinois,” said Omer Osman, the state’s acting secretary of transportation.
* He’s in southern Illinois today…
Governor JB Pritzker is scheduled to visit southern Illinois Tuesday.
The governor is making stops at Walker’s Bluff and at Laborers Local 773 in Marion to tout the recently passed Rebuild Illinois package.
Part of that package was the expansion of gambling in Illinois. It allows for more sports betting, video gaming expansion, and six new casinos, one of which will be at Walker’s Bluff.