Sweet blog extra: Led by Durbin, Illinois lawmakers go nuclear on Blagojevich. Bi-partisan attack on governor.

SHARE Sweet blog extra: Led by Durbin, Illinois lawmakers go nuclear on Blagojevich. Bi-partisan attack on governor.
SHARE Sweet blog extra: Led by Durbin, Illinois lawmakers go nuclear on Blagojevich. Bi-partisan attack on governor.

WASHINGTON—After simmering for months over Gov. Blagojevich’s inaction, the two Illinois senators and nine of the 19 House members on Friday unloaded on the governor for risking $6.1 billion in federal money for Illinois transportation projects.

At issue is the need for the state to come up with more than $1 billion in order to trigger the release of the $6.1 billion. The money was part of a big transportation bill Congress passed during the last session, when Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was the speaker.

Blagojevich has been in no hurry to come up with the state match. The theory, perhaps, is that the state should not automatically be obliged to all these expensive projects just because the federal goverment is willing to send in a down payment. These projects, perhaps, could also be held hostage by the governor and used as negotiating fodder.

Anyway, time is running out, the lawmakers said in the letter sent to Blagojevich and the four top state legislative leaders.

“If the State of Illinois does not enact a capital bill and provide the non-federal match this year, as much as $6.1 billion in federal funding could be at risk,” the letter said.

to read the letter, click below

Durbin’s letter….

DURBIN AND IL DELEGATION MEMBERS SEND LETTER TO GOVERNER AND LEGISLATIVE

LEADERS

[Washington, D.C.]- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today

sent a letter to the Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich and four

legislative leaders, Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, House

Republican Leader Tom Cross, President of the Senate Emil Jones, Jr. and

Republican Leader Frank Watson. Durbin was joined by Senator Barack

Obama (D-IL) and other members of the Illinois Congressional delegation

including Representatives Melissa Bean (D-IL), Jerry Costello (D-IL),

Danny Davis (D-IL), Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ray LaHood

(R-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and John Shimkus

(R-IL).

[text of letter attached and below]

May 25, 2007

The Honorable Rod Blagojevich

Governor

Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706

The Honorable Michael J. Madigan

Speaker of the House

Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706

The Honorable Tom Cross

House Republican Leader

Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706

The Honorable Emil Jones, Jr

President of the Senate

Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706

The Honorable Frank C. Watson

Republican Leader

Capitol Building

Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Governor Blagojevich, Speaker Madigan, President Jones, and Leaders

Cross and Watson:

In the 109th Congress, we worked together in a bipartisan

manner to provide Illinois with a 33.4 percent per year increase in

federal funding for transportation infrastructure – the largest in the

state’s history. SAFETEA (P.L. 109-59) provided the state with the

resources necessary to make significant investments in highway and

transit infrastructure throughout Illinois. We’re proud of this

accomplishment and want all of the federal funding set aside for

Illinois to be invested in our state’s transportation system.

We understand that the State of Illinois needs to provide as

much as $1.2 billion to complete all of the projects in our state that

are eligible for federal matching funds under P.L. 109-59.

We encourage you to enact state legislation to provide the

needed state match for the federal transportation funds we secured in

2005. If the State of Illinois does not enact a capital bill and

provide the non-federal match this year, as much as $6.1 billion in

federal funding could be at risk.

Our state responded after Congress passed comprehensive

transportation infrastructure legislation in the late 1990s by enacting

Illinois FIRST. That capital bill ensured that all federal funding

secured by the Illinois Congressional Delegation could be spent on

highway and transit projects. In short, thanks to the state match, no

federal funds were left behind.

We hope we can count on you to enact appropriate legislation

that will provide the required state match to the federal funds

available to our state.

We share the mutual goal of helping Illinois secure the

highest return for its tax dollars, and we stand ready to work with you

to that end.

Sincerely,

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