Invest in Our Transportation Infrastructure
Economists across the country are pleading for infrastructure spending to lift us out of the economic doldrums that we’ve been in since 2007. This spending starts a virtuous cycle which benefits everyone, because everyone needs these roads and bridges, and the resulting jobs means more spending which means even more jobs.
Instead, our infrastructure is falling into disrepair and getting overcrowded at the same time. Planes, trains, automobiles, and boats are all drawn to Illinois like a magnet, thanks to historical and economic factors, yet we’re serving them poorly when they get here. We remain a hub, but if we don’t improve our infrastructure soon, those who drive their economic engines through Illinois will find a workaround, which would devastate our economy.
We must invest in our infrastructure, and when we do it we have to do it right. Capital bills get a bad name because they end up being pork bills, with politicians giving preference to their pet projects with no objective assessment. I believe organizations like the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers should make an objective assessment on the most important projects to be funded, and then the legislature simply gets an up or down vote. We could make huge progress on transportation, which is one of our state’s few remaining strengths, if we can keep the politicians from trying to stick their fingers in the pie.
In order to get this done, we also have to designate where every penny is coming from. The last time we passed a capital bill, it was based on pie-in-the-sky predictions that everyone knew weren’t accurate. Those of us in local government aren’t allowed to do that—we actually have to designate the revenue source for every bond we issue. I will take that mentality to Springfield, because I believe that if a new capital bill is done properly, and legislators stay disciplined, we can get this done to the benefit of all.