Gov. discusses roads improvement program

April 4, 2009 8:50:13 PM PDT
Gov. Pat Quinn is following through on a promise to spend millions of dollars on improving Illinois' roads.Potholes in Chicago are also being targeted in the new program.

It appears some of that precious federal stimulus money is finally here. On Sunday, one West Side neighborhood saw those dollars in action as work crews tackled one of Chicago's pothole infested streets.

While that's good news for most, some say the funds just came to late, forcing them to take matters into their own hands.

For the guys at Anderson Shumaker help expected from the federal stimulus package didn't come soon enough.

A group of workers at the machining parts manufacturer decided to fix the pothole riddled road leading to their company on their own. The task has cost the company thousands and comes the same day, Illinois' governor delivered on his promise to pass the first part of a $3 billion statewide construction plan targeting infrastructure and mass transit.

"We've got to invest in the CTA, Pace and Metra and down. This a very far reaching landmark law," said Quinn.

It specifically provides Chicago with $40 million for pothole and road repairs and nearly $496 million for public transportation at a time when the city is trying to win the 2016 summer Olympics.

"The CTA will do track work on the Red Line and purchase additional hybrid buses," said Daley.

Lawmakers approved the program Friday which comes from the state road fund. It zipped through the legislature after weeks of private negotiations.

"If Blagojevich was governor this would not have happened. I'm pleased he's gone," said Mike Madigan, Illinois House speaker.

The plan focuses on construction work that can be started quickly much like that along North Avenue that began almost immediately after the mini-capital program was announced. West Side resident Mary Bell Bogan hopes that will mean jobs for the unemployed in her neighborhood.

"They are going to do North Avenue. So maybe they will have a chance to work and get something done in our area," said Bogan.

Governor Quinn also approved spending $6.7 billion in federal stimulus funds on other needs like high speed rail and paying overdue Medicaid bills.

It's still not clear if Quinn can convince lawmakers to pass a $25 billion construction program that would mean higher taxes and fees.


Load Comments