Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
$100 Million for Downstate Road Construction
SPRINGFIELD -- Southern Illinois will soon see more road construction popping up. Lawmakers passed a $1.1 billion capital bill early Saturday morning.
Our region could get a little more than $100 million in road construction projects because of the new capital bill. Local lawmakers say it's the biggest benefit southern Illinois is taking away from this year's legislative session.
"It was an okay session," said Representative John Bradley. "Southern Illinois is going to get more than its fair share of road construction projects."
"We seem to come out pretty good with regard to the spending on the building of highways," explained Senator David Luechtefeld. "Also, there is some money for local roads, about 100 million dollars."
One of the biggest projects coming to the area is the overlay of nearly 37 miles on Interstate 57 from Williamson County to Union County. US 45 and Highway 37 are just a couple more that will also see some resurfacing done.
However, the capital bill isn't the only legislation downstate lawmakers are happy about. A tornado victims bill to help commercial property owners also passed both houses. It's similar to the one Representative Brandon Phelps passed after the Harrisburg tornado. Instead of helping residents rebuild their homes at a lower tax rate, this law is helping business owners.
"This allows the opportunity for them to be built back in a slow, but gradual sliding up of their tax rate, instead of being hit with the tax bill right off the start," explained Representative Mike Bost.
However, not everything made it through the Legislature. Senators approved a bill that would have changed how Illinois schools were funded, awarding more money to poorer districts. That measure stalled in the House.
Lawmakers also said no to the extension of the temporary tax increase that's due to expire in January. However, it's still not off the table. Democrat leaders said they will bring it back up after elections, during the lame duck session.
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