Aerial view of Interstate 90 and 94 crossing Interstate 55 in Chicago. | iofoto
With the federal government still touting plans for major infrastructural upgrades, Republican Illinois state Rep. Allen Skillicorn (East Dundee) wonders why Democrats in Springfield remain so gung-ho about pushing their own local plan.
“Illinois stands as a major crosspoint for rail and roads connecting East to West, and with the fifth-highest GDP in the nation our state would be a vital part of any plans the Feds finally decide upon, or so one would think,” Skillicorn said in a press release. “But from the talk emanating from Springfield, the impression you would have is that there aren’t any national infrastructure spending plans at all.”
Skillicorn said he expects Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his Democratic majority to continue ramming through as many bills as they can over the few days remaining in this legislative session, with hikes on everything from plastic bags, internet streaming and cigarettes on the table. In addition, there’s talk of a gas tax hike topping 200 percent and a hike on electric vehicle fees of up to $1,000, all in the name of funding transportation upgrades.
State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee)
“You’d think we hadn't made any progress in maintaining our infrastructure, but we have,” Skillicorn said. “According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 1992 18 percent of the bridges were considered structurally deficient. That dropped by 50 percent in 2017, to less than 9 percent. And the roughness index has dropped 35 percent since 1995 with rural interstate dropping 65 percent and urban interstate dropping 48 percent, overall making the ride 20 percent smoother in 2017 than in 1995.”
Skillicorn said he can only think of one reason why Illinois Democrats would be so willing to tackle the infrastructure issue without federal assistance.
"Disdain for President Trump by our governor and Democratic majority have them 'going it alone,' pushing massive tax hikes onto the backs of Illinois families who already bear the crushing burden of the highest overall taxes in the nation,” he said. “While there is no doubt that, as usual, dollars will be allocated in this year's budget to maintain our infrastructure, there is no need to rush headlong into massive tax and fee increases on the hype that has been created regarding it."