infrastructure

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois State Armory is perhaps the largest state-owned building that no longer has a purpose. The 200,000-square foot behemoth was once a fixture of life and culture in downtown Springfield, and a central component to the State Capitol complex.

But, the more than 80 year-old building is a shell of what it once was. It’s fallen into disrepair.

That may soon change now that state lawmakers devoted $120 million from the latest infrastructure bill to fix up the place. 

Michael Kappel via Flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=rich

If you’re driving this holiday weekend, you’ll be paying more to fill up your tank in Illinois.  A 19 cent per gallon gas tax increase went into effect this week. But Governor J.B. Pritzker claims the money is an investment.


Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Friday signed into law a long-awaited $45 billion infrastructure plan.

Gov. J.B. Pritzer flanked by senators at a news conference
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly finally finished its annual legislative session this weekend, with lawmakers approving item after item on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda.

Observers and participants are calling it one of the most significant sessions in living memory.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Note: The show was taped during the noon hour on Friday, while debate and negotiations at the Statehouse were still ongoing.

On the final day of the Regular Legislative Session, lawmakers continued to work on finalizing the state budget, along with votes still to come on a constitutional amendment to switch Illinois to a graduated income tax, legalization of marijuana, expansion of gambling, and abortion legislation.  WTTW's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

House Speaker Michael Madigan makes a rare visit to the House floor
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Friday is the last day of the Illinois General Assembly’s scheduled spring legislative session, and lawmakers still have a long list of things to do.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Construction workers are building the foundation for new tracks at a train crossing south of downtown Springfield. The long-term plan includes new underpasses so cars won’t have to wait for trains.

Several months ago, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder sent a letter to lawmakers asking for $127 million in a construction plan to pay for the next phase – new tracks and overpasses farther south.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly has just one week left in its spring legislative session, and the number of outstanding issues are beginning to pile up.

A graduated income tax constitutional amendment seems to be on track, but lawmakers are still hashing out details — and rounding up votes — on crafting state budget, funding an infrastructure program, legalizing marijuana, and expanding gambling.

road construction
Gary Brown via Flickr (gsbrown99)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is finally getting specific on what could be in a massive statewide building plan — and what taxes and fees could be raised to pay for it.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois gets an April surprise — $1.5 billion in unexpected revenue — as lawmakers debate what the windfall means. The public also got its first look at the long-anticipated language in a proposal that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Meanwhile, an audit found that child abuse and neglect investigations suffered during the budget impasse of 2015-17, and lawmakers advanced legislation that would more than double the gas tax in order to pay for infrastructure building and repair.

electric vehicle charging
Paul B / flickr.com/eastbeach (cc by-nc 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers say they’re ready to move ahead with a major road construction program. It would mean tax and fee increases on gasoline, license plates and driver’s licenses.

matryosha / Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Illinois lawmakers are at odds over how to punish damage to important infrastructure. Some fear it would mean harsher sentences for charges that already exist.

road construction
Gary Brown via Flickr (gsbrown99)

Driving around Illinois, chances are you’ve experience the jarring crack of a tire hitting the bottom of a pothole. This week, acting transportation secretary Matt Magalis put a cost on that feeling: between $13 billion and $15 billion.

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Brian Mackey

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of using his position to steer business to his law firm. The city's longest-serving alderman has ties across government in Illinois and the city — will there be other shoes to drop?

Chao, Pritzker, DeSantis, Trump
still image from video / pool

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker was in the White House Thursday, part of a group of newly-elected governors meeting with President Trump.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois lawmakers say they’ve begun discussing a potential capital bill. It would fund construction and repair projects for the state’s infrastructure over the next several years.


Construction sign at Broadway and Adams in Springfield
Sam Dunklau

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

flickr/ 401kcalculator.org

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

WUIS

Illinois is preparing to hit the bond market even as the budget impasse has dimmed analysts' views of the state's credit worthiness.

Just as if your credit score declined, Illinois' lower rating makes borrowing more expensive.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's still going to try to a half a billion dollars worth of bonds Thursday to pay for roads and bridges.

flickr/ Howard Weliver

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that the city of Galesburg offer residents bottled water or filters after tap water there tested for high levels of lead.  

Amanda Vinicky

It's been years since the last long-term federal transportation program. But with Congress back in session Tuesday, Illinois' senior U-S Senator is making a push for it to get done by the end of the month.

Federal transportation projects have been stuck in stop and go traffic.

Lawmakers pass a temporary authorization, allowing construction to move ahead until the red-light of a deadline; then another temporary measure, another stop … and go ... and stop ... and go.

Illinois Issues: The State's Climate Is Changing

Jul 30, 2015
Patty Sullivan / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Illinois'  future summers could be as hot as Texas.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner made an appearance Tuesday at an Illinois Department of Transportation hearing on infrastructure needs.

IDOT is traveling all over the state to build support for a new construction program, and Rauner used his own travel experiences as an example.

As is often good practice when giving a speech, the governor started his remarks with a joke.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he has big plans for the state's infrastructure. He addressed the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association on Tuesday in Springfield.

Rauner told the group, whose members benefit when the state spends money on roads, that Illinois will invest more on infrastructure in the next four years than ever before. He gave no clear indication of where the money would come from.

Hartland Township MI

The mayor of Springfield took umbrage to a weekend editorial in the local paper.

The State Journal Register Sunday criticized the city for a lack of a comprehensive sewer program, following housing and street flooding after heavy rains in recent weeks.

Mayor Mike Houston called reporters together to remind them, as he approaches a re-election campaign, that the city is in the midst of a 10 year $60 million dollar borrowing program to fix some of the problem sewer systems.

Wikimedia Commons

  Infrastructure in Illinois is getting dangerously close to disrepair, according to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The state received a "C-" for its maintenance of roads, bridges and waterways.

The group says Illinois' grade is cause for concern, especially given recent infrastructure failures. Those headlines include last weekend's water crisis in Toledo, Ohio and chemical pollutants in West Virginia water earlier this year.

Amanda Vinicky

  Illinois will invest another eight point six billion dollars into roads, bridges and other projects. It's the latest installment of a major infrastructure plan lawmakers passed in 2010. Now, Governor Pat Quinn is calling for a new one. But he's not saying where the money should come from.

The 2010 infrastructure program - known as Illinois Jobs Now! - has funded thousands of miles of road repairs so far -- paid for by higher taxes on alcohol, candy and soft drinks; a higher license plate fee; and revenue from video poker.