This week legislation backed by Operators Union Local 150 to generate more revenue for the state's transportation infrastructure moved out of committee in the House. Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch testified in committee that the Chamber is remaining neutral on the legislation because it does not represent a bipartisan agreement and is moving prematurely with the bipartisan working groups on capital continuing to meet and make progress.
The legislation is similar to the bill introduced by Senator Sandoval and backed by Operators Union Local 150 earlier this session but has larger revenue increases in order to get closer to the amount Illinois actually needs to raise.
The Chamber has concerns with some non-revenue portions of the bill and would like to see further discussion on ways to reduce the impact of revenue increases on taxpayers and demonstrate to voters that Illinois is spending its transportation revenue wisely. Such initiatives include removing the sales tax on motor fuel, exploring innovative financing for large projects with high traffic volumes, and greater public transparency.
We have not yet heard what capital proposals the Governor is willing to support, though his office indicated this week that they plan to weigh in shortly.
SB 24, which mandates freight train crew sizes, came out of committee this week in the House. Representative Margo McDermed has requested a fiscal note on the legislation that is now sitting on the floor of the House. The Chamber is opposed to SB 24.
HB 3035 Amendment 1
is the current language for the lead pipe replacement proposal sponsored by Senator Steans. Another amendment is expected shortly. After many negotiations, the bill requires community water supply owners to
- submit inventories each year until their inventory is complete and then every three years thereafter;
- submit plans to replace lead and galvanized pipe service lines and report on replacement progress;
- replace lead service lines attached to water main lines when the main line is replaced;
- for suppliers with over 3500 metered connections, provide cost of service information.
In addition, a low-income assistance program for water expenses is created and the Illinois Commerce Commission may allow or direct a water utility to establish customer assistance program.
The Governor's office reiterated this week in conversations with Infrastructure Council staff that the Governor is committed to remaining the non-federal sponsor at Brandon Road but that they are still considering their funding options. The Governor's office staff committed to a meeting with waterways users on this issue after session adjourns at the end of May.
Railroad Day 2019 took place this week in DC. Rail advocates from around the country met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the significant investment freight railroads make in the country's infrastructure. In Illinois, Canadian National Railway's plan to spend $190 million to add capacity at its Joliet intermodal terminal and BNSF Railway's capital expenditure plan to invest $135 million in Illinois were highlighted.