Wish You Had $9 Billion to Spend? We Do!

Illinois putting together projects for stimulus plan

 is set to get nearly $9 billion from the federal stimulus bill, but few of the state and city officials who are scrambling to complete their wish lists have been willing to share them with the public.


Watchdog groups say it's not the wish lists that concern them: It's what they haven't been able to see.

Lists from most state agencies and some cities -- most notably Chicago -- have been kept under wraps, "increasing the risk that pork or otherwise tainted projects end up getting funds," the Huffington Post reported.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said that he'll launch a Web site regarding state stimulus moneyRecovery.Illinois.gov will track how the state is using its share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package.  

To date, Mayor Richard Daley has held his list close to his vest, suggesting to reporters earlier this month that he doesn't want to subject specific projects to criticism just yet.

"Yes, we do, we have our list, we've been talking to people," he said. "We did not put that out publicly because once you start putting it out publicly, you know, the newspapers, the media is going to be ripping it apart."

That said, Daley did put out a few ideas for Chicago's planned spending.  Daley's list is less specific than the wish lists submitted by the mayors of other cities across the country, the Chicago Tribune noted

Additionally, there's talk of a high speed rail network connecting Chicago to eleven cities in the Midwest. The money would come from Illinois' slice of the president's stimulus package.    That according to the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center. The center has been promoting high speed rail.

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