Edwardsville Hearing Attracts Metro East Interests

03042019MH0322After a preliminary hearing in Springfield, the Senate’s capital construction committees began their statewide tour in Edwardsville on March 4. 

Representatives from various interested groups gathered at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus to discuss how some areas are struggling with growth, while others, like township governments, face fiscal challenges from deteriorating roadways in economically important industrial areas.

The panels included local mayors, union officials, university representatives, and regional economic and transportation experts.

“We’re trying to hear from a wide range of interested groups about capital needs they see in our state, and I think we learned a lot about issues that need to be addressed here in the Metro East area,” said State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “The Edwardsville hearing was an appropriate start to this process, but there is a lot more work to do before we’re ready to unveil a comprehensive spending plan to address Illinois’ backlog of infrastructure projects.”

Illinois has not developed or approved a comprehensive funding plan to invest in infrastructure since 2009. The deteriorating transportation system has been a major problem for travelers in the state and growing concerns are being voiced regarding the safety and efficiency of roads and bridges.

“The unpopular part of any significant infrastructure investment plan will be the funding sources,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), chair of the Senate Appropriations II Committee. “That’s one of the big questions that we need answers to. What taxes do local opinion leaders support? Who can be counted on to vocally advocate for the revenue?”

During the Edwardsville hearing, Sandoval did ask Metro East guests what revenues they could support. No locally elected officials were willing to support specific tax revenues.

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