The legislature is back in Springfield this week and will remain in session most weekdays in the month of May. The Governor's office continued to convene a working group of legislators to discuss capital this week and the House also continued their bipartisan discussions. It doesn't sound as if anything new is coming out of the meetings this week, though both the Governor and the House appear closer to proposing something to address the state's capital needs (both groups are considering transportation needs and non-transportation capital needs).
The Chamber is continuing to work with the Governor's staff and the House working group, as well as meeting with several leaders in the Senate, to promote the need to invest in our state's infrastructure and to try to keep the discussions moving toward a bipartisan solution. We have been having a good dialogue and look forward to continuing that discussion.
It is the time during legislative session where concerns grow that important agenda items may not get accomplished. This year is no different, but I am hopeful we will see a resolution on both the operating budget and a capital investment budget.
There was not a lot of committee activity in terms of moving bills this week. However, next week will be busy because the deadline for bills out of committee in the second chamber is Friday, May 10.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with President Trump this week to discuss the possibility of an infrastructure investment bill. They left the meeting with an agreement to raise $2 trillion for infrastructure, but no details on how to pay for the investment or how to structure it. It still seems most likely that we will see any infrastructure funding increase in the next surface transportation authorization as opposed to a separate funding bill.
CHAMBER IN THE NEWS
Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch discussed the need for sustainable investment in our state's transportation infrastructure with the Daily Herald editorial board. The editorial, titled "State Needs to Think Long Term in Fixing Roads, Bridges" is
UNION STATION FALLING CONCRETE
Falling concrete in Chicago's Union Station caused track shutdowns for Metra for part of the day Wednesday. Transit advocates also came down to Springfield this week to talk about the need for further investment to prevent situations like the falling concrete Wednesday. Congressman Lipinski issued a statement calling on Amtrak to fix the station to prevent ceiling failures in the future. Union Station is owned by Amtrak but Chicago's transit system uses the station and has participated in helping to fund infrastructure investments in the past.
More information about VW settlement funds, including the grant awarded so far and available opportunities, is available here.