construction

"Interstate 55 - Illinois" by Flickr User Doug Kerr / (CC X 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner is asking the Illinois Legislature to allow work to start on Interstate 55 in the Chicago area via a public-private partnership.

Rauner, the state transportation secretary and Republican House Leader Jim Durkin made the push at a news conference on Monday. They say the Illinois Legislature needs to pass a resolution supporting the project by the end of the month.

WNIJ

The first question on Illinois ballots in November's election isn't for president or senator, but on a proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting diversion of public money targeted for transportation projects to other state budget needs.

Despite widespread bipartisan support, some opponents have surfaced, including social service groups who argue it's unfair to protect transportation over other issues.

The proposal seeks to prevent money generated through tolls and other transportation-related sources from being spent elsewhere.

"Construction For-ev-or" by Flickr User Kyle May / (CC X 2.0)

An Illinois group that wants to prevent transportation funds from being diverted elsewhere has spent about $2.5 million for television advertising.

Figures released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity show that Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding spent the money to air their ads nearly 1,300 times this election cycle.

Since 2003, an estimated $6.8 billion in transportation funds generated by tolls, license fees and the gas tax have been used by state government for other things. That's according to the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.

"Construction Cones" by Flickr User The Tire Zoo / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois voters will vote this fall on a constitutional amendment affecting road funding.  

In the past, the state has reallocated road funding to plug holes in the budget.  

Fed up with this move, road contractors and construction workers had an idea:  Amend the Illinois Constitution so these funds must be used on transportation needs, and nothing else.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to put the amendment on this year's ballot.    

"END CONSTRUCTION" BY FLICKR USER CHRIS LASHER / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois has borrowed $550 million for construction at what Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says is a record-low interest rate despite the state's beleaguered financial position.

Rauner's office announced Thursday that it sold $550 million in bonds at an interest rate of 3.7 percent. That's below the 4 percent interest offered when it sold $480 million in January.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly contends it's the lowest interest rate in history among similarly situated general obligation bonds.

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