Back in April a plan for billions of dollars in new construction failed in the Illinois senate. That meant many of our road projects hit a dead end. But we have a chance to help speed along a capital spending bill. In April, it came down to partisan politics in Springfield. The capital spending program is worth $3.2 billion. The plan called for borrowing money to build new roads and schools. But the Northern Stateline Area Coalition isn't sitting through another red light. The group announced a county-wide advisory road referendum.
Steve Nailor, President of the Rockford-Winnebago Better Roads Association says, "We don't want to get lost in this shuffle for the road money we've been working hard on for 5 years."
In November, Winnebago County voters will be asked to check "yes" and put pressure on the Illinois General Assembly and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The group hopes that would remove the road blocks and free up millions of dollars to improve North and South Main and Illinois 173. But the caution flag has been raised as many question who has got all this money.
89th District Representative and Republican Jim Sacia states, "The state has increased their income nearly a billion dollars a year. That money could be coming into a project like this. It hasn't been."
67th District Representative Chuck Jefferson who is a Democrat says, "The Governor has said if he gets a capital project signed he will provide the revenue. I think we should give him the chance."
Both Sacia and Jefferson hope that a bi-partisan effort is made. It will be up to leaders in Springfield to find the funds. Some ideas floating around include increasing speeding tickets, the cigarette tax, or you may pay more for pop.
Nailor says though this will not be a burden for taxpayers. Nailor states, "This is not about tax relief as far as we're concerned because we're talking about 34 cents we pay every day for gasoline we put in cars. It's about taxes that should come back to Rockford and we're tired of seeing it go to Chicago."
The Northern Stateline Area Coalition is hoping for a big win in Winnebago County this November. The group needs more than 6,000 signatures by August 21st to place this on the November ballot.