transportation

russellstreet / Flickr- CC BY-SA 2.0

Illinois needs more money to cover its deteriorating transportation systems, but the federal government’s new infrastructure plan doesn’t offer much. 

road construction
Gary Brown via Flickr (gsbrown99)

Voters in the general election will be asked to weigh in on a proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution that would protect money set aside for transportation projects. The plan is sometimes referred to as the transportation funding lockbox amendment. 

As they grow their reach in the state, ride-sharing companies are bringing transportation and jobs to underserved neighborhoods in some Illinois cities. 

nasda.org

The four lane highway between Springfield and Taylorville should be complete by next year.  Bill Wheelhouse and Tim Landis chat about that on this weeks SJR/WUIS Business Report:

road construction
Gary Brown via Flickr (gsbrown99)

The lack of a state budget puts some local projects in jeopardy--including road work. 

The need for infrastructure investments across the country is great and has been in the news a lot lately. The American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the country will need to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020. The same group gave the country's infrastructure a D+ rating for 2013. Illinois got a C-.

flickr/brownpau

After being turned down for a video gambling license last year, the Springfield airport will try its luck again.

The Director of the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Mark Hanna, says adding the gambling machines is an opportunity that needs to be explored.

"Just like any other non-aeronautical revenue opportunity, we feel we are doing the responsible thing in actually looking at all available sources of revenue that are out there to offset our expenses and tax burden," Hanna said.

Amanda Vinicky

  Amtrak ridership in Illinois has risen in recent years; it's up almost 85 percent from 2006 through last year. That trend developed after the rail service added routes. The train service could grow more in the future.

In 2006, lines branching out from Chicago that went to Carbondale, Quincy and St. Louis added trips.

Then there's the ongoing construction on tracks, that's supposed to make way for so-called "high speed rail" on line that runs through Bloomington and Springfield, and into Missouri. There's a potential for more expansion going forward.

Tejvan Pettinger/flickr

The Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission wants you to leave the car at home next week.  Instead, think about biking, walking, running or using the bus.  

Curb Your Car Week begins Monday and several business are offering incentives. There is also a group ride from Washington Park on Wednesday morning, May 21.  A night ride that goes through downtown is on Saturday May 24.

WUIS

A hearing Tuesday afternoon in Springfield will explain improvements to the  3rd Street rail line.
Springfield leaders breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced rail traffic would be consolidated along 10th Street.  They had concerns of more and faster trains traveling through the heart of downtown.  But while the 10th Street corridor is being revamped, the  trains won't wait.  That means safety improvements are needed along 3rd Street.

SJ-R.com

WUIS' Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register's Business Editor Tim Landis about major road projects in the Springfield area, Illinois' stake in ethanol amid questions about it's environmental impact and the fitness boom continues with the opening of another new fitness center in the capital city.

You can also read the latest stories Tim is working on at SJ-R.com

Amanda Vinicky

As gas prices rise and fall, there's one constant: however much you pay to fill your gas tank, it's taxed. Several proposals would change how.

In Illinois, gasoline is taxed twice.

"What we have in Illinois is a tax on a tax," Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) says. "Which is just wrong. Because right now we get charged with the motor fuel tax. But then on top of that, they charge a sales tax."

The signing of the federal government’s 2005 transportation bill was practically a showcase of Illinois’ political clout on Capitol Hill. 

 

Chicago-area mass transit has gotten most of the attention in Springfield this year. Yet two dozen of the state's 102 counties, nearly a quarter of them, lack any form of public transportation, according to the Rural Transit Assistance Center at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Another 11 counties provide mass transit service in a single city only.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"A modern economy needs a modern platform, and that's the infrastructure. It has been shown that the productivity of an economy is related to the quality of its infrastructure."

Felix Rohatyn 
The New York Times, April 9, 2007

Every time a Chicagoand points and clicks on an Internet purchase to be shipped by United Parcel Service, another bit of weight is added to the region's overstrained freight system.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"Never look a gift horse in the mouth," cautioned the Roman theologian St. Jerome in a 5th century biblical commentary. Despite such sound advice, Illinois policymakers could hardly be blamed if they were to feel a tad concerned about the massive windfall of federal dollars — an estimated $9.4 billion over five years — the state could receive under the new transportation bill President George W. Bush signed in August.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

After seeing colleagues in target legislative districts roasted throughout the just-concluded campaign season for supposedly voting against their constituents’ local interests, Illinois lawmakers may be tempted to approach their work from a decidedly parochial perspective.

That’s understandable, of course. No incumbent wants to provide ammunition to a future challenger intent on playing to the long-held regional animosities that characterize Illinois politics.