Portion of Capital Plan on Fast Track

At least one piece of a statewide construction program could be approved next week as Illinois officials try to create jobs during the spring construction season.

Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday he has an agreement with Democratic legislative leaders to take action before lawmakers begin their spring break.

He wouldn't provide details, but a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said top Democrats have agreed to a roughly $1.5 billion plan to fill potholes and resurface roads. The money would come from the state road fund.

If that happens, officials would still face tough decisions on a much larger program to build roads, modernize schools and repair mass transit systems.

Quinn wants a $26 billion construction program funded by raising the cost of driver's licenses and registration fees.

Meanwhile, an Illinois Senate committee assigned to find solutions for the state's budget problems has finished its work -- without producing any solutions.

Committee members said their final report will describe the state's financial problems but not offer any specific recommendations to solve them.

The lawmakers couldn't even agree on the severity of the problems and whether they could be resolved without a tax increase.

Democrats say the evidence shows it's simply not possible to cut state spending deeply enough to fill the massive deficit, but Republicans came out of the hearings convinced tax increases aren't needed. They plan to present some alternatives next week.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us