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Mon February 18, 2013 - Midwest Edition
On Jan. 17, representatives of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition (TFIC) met with IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider and key agency staff. The meeting was organized by IAAP Executive Director John Henriksen, the new chair of the TFIC State House Committee, and discussed:
• The status of the IDOT FY13 Supplemental Appropriations bill that stalled in the Senate earlier this month.
• A proposed TFIC media strategy designed to build support for the IDOT FY13 Supplemental Appropriations bill.
• IDOT plans to secure the remaining capital bond authorization and prospects for a new capital program.
As outlined below, the TFIC members gathered in Springfield, along with the Chicago contingent joining by video conference, had a useful conversation with their IDOT partners.
According to Secretary Schneider, an effort will be made to move the IDOT FY13 Supplemental Appropriations bill early in February 2013 as part of a larger supplemental bill for State government operations.
The bill currently being developed will have the same IDOT components as the legislation that stalled earlier this year as well as additional funding for social programs such as mental health, children and family services and housing.
Secretary Schneider also committed Director of Highways Omer Osman to work with TFIC to develop a media strategy designed to build interest in this bill (in particular by explaining the lack of work attributable to the failure to pass a bill this spring).
The TFIC members and IDOT representatives then discussed plans to secure, during this legislative session, the remaining capital bond authorization for roads and bridges, the sum of $400 million split equally between local roads and state highways.
Secretary Schneider confirmed that the Quinn Administration is interested in a new capital bill this legislation session, in the range of $3 to 5 billion, to fund transportation, schools and water projects.
In order to pay for this program, all revenue ideas are "on the table", except a gas tax increase. Secretary Schneider concluded the meeting by expressing optimism that the supplemental would be considered and approved in early February and looked forward to working with TFIC and others on a possible capital bill this spring.