If and when the state budget stalemate ends, a long-term capital bill may be the next item of the General Assembly’s to-do list.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn believes capital bill conversations between lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration will begin as soon as a budget is in place.
He also expects Rauner to want a more long-term solution for infrastructure projects.
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“When we talk about transportation funding, we talk capital bills and we talk about shovel-ready, and I hope I never hear either one of those terms again,” Blankenhorn said.
Rauner had said as a candidate he preferred infrastructure needs be addressed through other means than the large-scale construction programs of the past which rely on bonds. Blankenhorn says that doesn’t mean transportation funding isn’t a priority for this administration.
“You’ve heard and I’ve heard and many of you have heard the governor say he wants to invest billions and billions of dollars in transportation infrastructure, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe him in that.”
As for how to pay for those projects, Blankenhorn says raising the gas tax is an option.