Chicago Tribune: State budget woes could hurt Illinois' chances for Trump capital funds: Quigley
The following article was published on December 12, 2016. A link to the article can be found here.
By Mary Wisniewski
President-elect Donald Trump's promise for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending could help Illinois — but only if the state can get its own fiscal house in order, said Chicago-area Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley.
The state of Illinois, whose leaders are still bickering over its operating budget, is seven years overdue for a new capital budget plan to help pay for big transportation and other infrastructure projects. If the state cannot come up with matching funds from a capital plan, it will miss out on new federal money from a big infrastructure program, Quigley warned.
"One of the things we have to understand is that federal transportation dollars require a local match," said Quigley, interviewed while on a tour of Union Station last week. "If that money isn't there, that money goes to another state."
Quigley, on the House Committee on Appropriations, noted that the lack of state money is a problem his predecessors didn't have to deal with.
"Dan Rostenkowski didn't have to worry as much about matching funds," Quigley said, referring to the late powerhouse congressman. "It was just there. Give me your list. I'll get this done."
Quigley said if there's no capital program and the federal government offers a pool of grants for projects, "It is going to Ohio. It is going to Wisconsin."
He said the opposite happened when President Barack Obama was elected and money was available for high-speed rail — Wisconsin and Ohio rejected it and Illinois got it. Quigley said there is now a risk of making "the folly in the opposite direction."