Civic and business leaders push for another capital bill

By Denise Jackson

February 13, 2013 Updated Feb 13, 2013 at 10:34 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Local business and civic leaders say central Illinois wants to see more improvements to roads and bridges.

They would like the state to approve another capital bill to help with such projects

Representatives from different communities talked about a wish list of sorts including several road, bridge and infrastructure projects in their cities around Central Illinois. One project in Peoria includes improvements along Pioneer Parkway that could cost the city about $74 million.

Interim Peoria Public Works Director Jeffrey Smith said money from another capital bill could move the project along quicker.

"We've got a little over $2 million right now for the first section. We need about $4.5 million. So just to get that Allen road intersection and a little bit further away west is supportive of that one project, it's really expensive," he said.

"We had a 10 year gap before this program was passed in 2009 and that's very difficult," said Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Director Robeta Parks. "It just simply requires constant attention, maintenance as well as new projects. So our region has benefited from this last plan"

The current capital bill expires in 2014. With pension and medicaid reform topping the state legislature agenda it is unclear if any action on a capital bill will happen soon.

Funding is another question yet to be answered. Some members said they would like to see a dedicated funding source for transportation projects. Whether or not that will happen depends on how the pension reform agreement shakes out.

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