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State spending on roads, bridges, buildings and sewers has contractors eyeing Springfield.
A group of them met Friday with labor representatives, lawmakers and city and state officials at Celebrations 150, La Salle to sharpen a plan to lobby for revenue. Transportation for Illinois Coalition and Illinois Valley Contractors Association hosted the roundtable.
State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and state Sen, Sue Rezin (R-Morris) provided updates on infrastructure funding. Mautino asked attendees to share information about grants they applied for.
“Let us know,” he said. “It helps us to help you if we know what you’re looking for.”
A supplemental spending bill signed this week provides $675 million for road projects, Rezin said. Lawmakers will focus on making sure those funds go to roads, she said.
“I don’t need to tell you, that funding has decreased over the years,” Rezin said.
A position paper issued by the coalition showed inflation-adjusted spending for roads in Illinois decreased each year since the bump provided by the 2009 capital spending bill. Purchasing power of motor fuel tax spending since 1990 has steadily dropped, failing to keep pace with inflation, according to the position paper.
A 14-page handout showed local infrastructure needs. It was provided by North Central Illinois Council of Governments executive director Nora Fesco-Ballerine.
“There’s not a lot of money out there for building improvements,” she said. “I would love to see another federal stimulus. It provided a ton of jobs and provided a lot of work. It was really a shot in the arm.”
She vowed to work with lawmakers “to try to find funds that are out there.” North Central Illinois Council of Governments currently is handling sewer project grant applications for nine to 10 local governments, Fesco-Ballerine said.
The area’s transportation strengths — interstate highways, Peru airport, Illinois River shipping and crossroads position between major cities — were highlighted.
Jeff Dankert can be reached at (815) 220-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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