WEST PEORIA — Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday said Illinois' neglect over the past two decades makes a large capital construction program — and the taxes to support it — necessary today.
Speaking before the start of West Peoria's annual Fourth of July parade, in which he walked alongside Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Pritzker responded to questions about citizens concerned about the costs of increased gas taxes, cigarette taxes, license plate registration fees and a host of other costs.
"Our roads have been crumbling for more than a decade," Pritzker said before the parade stepped off. "It's been a decade since we had a capital bill, but really 20 years since we had a full-on program of resurfacing roads and rebuilding bridges and building buildings at universities. So it's time."
The state's last capital bill, Gov. Pat Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now plan, passed in 2009. Lawmakers had resisted passing such a bill under his predecessor, Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The last significant significant spending before that was Gov. George Ryan's Illinois FIRST plan.
Pritzker also said improving the state's infrastructure could also save money on repairs for drivers.
"By resurfacing roads, people's cars are going to get less damage," he said. "When you blow out a tire, you often have to replace two tires. that can cost $300, and so the expense of paying for the roads and the upgrades of our bridges and life safety is worth it.
Spending for the $45 billion capital plan will come over six years.