Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
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Capital plan debate: Lots of money needed to build, fix things in Illinois

As about 20 senators from a couple of Senate committees looked on recently, Matt Magalis, acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation, tried to lay out some of the state’s backlogged transportation needs.
The state needs $13 billion to $15 billion over 10 years just for maintenance of existing roads. That doesn’t include additional roads or traffic lanes needed to move additional traffic, especially in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Nor did it include an estimated $250 million needed for airport improvements exclusive of O’Hare and Midway, $19.1 billion for mass transit, $800 million for passenger rail and $4 billion for freight rail improvements.
“Our funding needs are great,” Magalis said in an understatement.
Magalis was just one witness that day before a joint meeting of Senate committees looking into the state’s capital needs in preparation for an expected capital bill this spring. The Capital Development Board, which handles non-transportation state construction projects, was also there, as were representatives of higher education. The message was the same from all of them: They need money to build new things and money to fix things they already have. Lots of it.
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