Set to adjourn Saturday, Ilinois' House of Representatives hustled to approve a $1.1 billion construction bill to repair bridges and pothole-addled roads.
The measure passed through the House with a landslide 97-11 vote on Thursday as lawmakers checked off a to-do list of legislation in an effort to hammer out a 2015 state budget for approval by Gov. Pat Quinn. It was slated to hit the Senate floor on Friday as part of a House-proposed $38 billion spending package. The fiscal budget for the forthcoming fiscal year begins in July.
"The bottom line, this is going to put people to work," House Speaker Michael Madigan, the billion-dollar construction bill's sponsor, told his Springfield colleagues, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Those people will pay taxes. Some of those taxes will come to the state of Illinois for spending by this legislature."
Madigan's Republican foes and even a few fellow Democrats pushed back on the wily power broker's initial pitch to set aside $1.6 billion for the plan, which will be partly funded through higher vehicle registration fees.
Rep. Scott Drury, a Democrat from the northern suburb of Highwood, balked at the proposal to "authorize spending $1 billion on some unknown projects" at "an unknown rate," adding: "This is the definition of irresponsbile."