Rauner backs state helping to pay for Obama Center road work in Jackson Park

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Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after a hearing in February in the case of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Gov. Bruce Rauner said on Monday he supports the state helping to finance some of the $175 million needed to rework roadways in and around the future Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

Last Friday, Chicago’s City Hall for the first time put a price tag on the work and identified as a potential funding source the state of Illinois.

The Chicago Sun-Times asked Rauner if he would support the state assistance. The Democratic Illinois legislative leaders — House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton — are in favor of the state bankrolling a big chunk of the infrastructure costs.

Rauner said it is an “honor” for the city of Chicago and Illinois to have the Obama Center “and I look forward to working together with the Illinois General Assembly to come up with the resources so we can put in the infrastructure around it to support it.”

“. . . I won’t speculate on the dollars at this point. I’ll say I look forward to working together to develop the infrastructure needed for that center because I think it is going to be a wonderful asset for the people of Illinois, a great tourist draw, a great economic engine.”

The Obama Foundation will hold a public meeting on Tuesday at McCormick Place to discuss Obama Center plans — with the proposed closing of Cornell Drive in Jackson Park sparking community outcry.

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