ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Saturday was a busy day in Springfield. Lawmakers passing several new bills as well as both the annual state budget and the capital plan.
"With the capital plan and the budget we had a lot of projects that will be coming back and will really benefit this community," said 34th District Sen. Steve Stadelman.
On Saturday a nearly $40 billion state budget and $45 billion capital plan passed paving the way for infrastructure improvements. There are also new bills that passed the house and senate that will bring a casino to Rockford and legalize recreational marijuana use in the state.
"I have concerns with it I didn't support it law enforcement had concerns but you'll be able to right away be able to purchase your recreational marijuana at the same location you got your medical marijuana at," said 35th District Sen. Dave Syverson.
Syverson says down the road retail stores will also sell recreational marijuana.
"A number of states have done that already so hopefully we can learn from what Colorado and California have done as far as implementing legalizing marijuana and maybe we can avoid some of those pits falls in the state," Stadelman said.
The budget also doubles the states gas tax from 19 cents to 39 cents per gallon.
"That is how we pay for roads in the state. If people want improved roads, safe bridges you got to find a way to pay for it," Stadelman said.
For people driving electric cars, they will pay a fee to help fix the roads.
"Because they don't pay gas tax but they are using the roads so they are licensing, driver’s license fee or their registrations for their vehicle is going to be increased to what the average consumer spends on the gas tax," Syverson said.
Lawmakers also passed the gaming expansion bill paving the way for a Rockford casino.
"It's one of those things that generate a lot of money locally for municipalities but there is no taxpayer money going into it. So it is strictly a private sector," Syverson said.
"I think a casino with the additional jobs and revenue that it will bring and increasing tourism in this area along with those who like to gambling and spend their entertainment dollar here that another good thing,” Stadelman said.
Stadelman is also looking forward to the economic improvement revolving around the passenger rail service plan, which could make Rockford a more attractive place to live.