SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to unveil a six-year, $41.5 billion plan to repair Illinois' crumbling roads, bridges, public schools and university buildings in a massive proposal that calls for nearly $1.8 billion in new taxes and tax increases, according to documents provided to lawmakers at a Friday briefing.
Dubbed Rebuild Illinois, it would be the state's first large-scale infrastructure improvement program in a decade and would result in higher costs for everything from ride-sharing to cable and streaming services, as well as a significant hike at the gas pump.
The long-awaited proposal, which comes as lawmakers are working to finalize the state budget before their schedule May 31 adjournment, received a lukewarm response from some of the governor's fellow Democrats and pushback from some Republicans. The preliminary drafts distributed Friday follow behind-the-scenes negotiations with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Changes are expected even before Pritzker makes a formal announcement next week.
"We've been eagerly awaiting a framework from the Pritzker administration," said Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago, who has led a series of statewide hearings this spring on infrastructure needs. "As the Senate has gone around the state and led this bipartisan effort, there have been many changes, and I expect many more to come. What you have here is an early draft of what a framework could look like."
Republican Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods said he was "shocked" at the administration's capital proposal, which he said doesn't reflect what he's heard in hearings and closed-door meetings.
"I'm not sure of anybody in my party that could support a package of this size with those taxes that are laid out there like that," he said.
Pritzker's outline includes doubling the state gas tax to 38 cents per gallon from 19 cents; tiered increases in vehicle registration fees based on the vehicle's age; a $250 annual registration fee for electric vehicles; a $1-per-ride tax on ride sharing; and a 7% state tax on cable, satellite and streaming service.
Other taxes being discussed include a new 6% tax on daily and hourly garage parking, a 9% tax on monthly and annual garage parking, and an increase in taxes on manufacturers and importing distributors of beer, wine and spirits.
Sandoval earlier this month introduced his own revenue proposal that included a steeper gas tax increase of 25-cents-per-gallon and a $1,000 electric vehicle registration fee, which he said would generate $2.4 billion in annual revenue.
"The administration looks forward to continuing to engage in productive conversations before the proposal is finalized," Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement.
Of the proposed $41.5 billion in spending, $28.6 billion would be devoted to transportation projects, including $23 billion for roads and bridges and $3.4 billion for mass transit. The plan also calls for spending $5.9 billion on repair and building projects at schools, universities and community colleges. Another $4.4 billion would go to state facilities.
The largest share of the program, $17.8 billion, would be funded through state bonds, while more than $7 billion would come from regular revenue. The plan counts on more than $10 billion in federal funding and $6.6 billion from local governments and private sources.
Among the big-ticket items on the list is a $1 billion reconstruction project on Interstate 80 from Ridge Road to Lincoln Highway in Will County, including the replacement of bridges over the Des Plaines River. Highlighting the problems on that stretch of road, two eastbound lanes of I-80 at Illinois 53 were closed for about three hours one Friday due to a hole forming in the bridge deck, snarling traffic.
The Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees the CTA, the Metra commuter rail system and the Pace suburban bus system, would receive nearly $2.9 billion. Another $225 million would be used to help restore passenger train service from Chicago to the Quad Cities.
In Chicago, $350 million would be devoted to the completion of the 75th Street corridor improvement project and adjacent corridors to reduce rail congestion. The plan also calls for building improvements and construction projects at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago State University, Northeastern Illinois University and Governors State University in south suburban University Park.
The draft includes $230 million for reconstruction of the Quincy Veterans Home, where 14 people have died since 2015 in a series of Legionnaires' disease outbreaks.
With two weeks left in the spring legislative session, a capital bill could prove to be a key element in winning support for other parts of Pritzker's ambitious agenda, which includes legalizing and taxing sports betting and recreational marijuana and advancing an overhaul of the state's income tax structure for voter approval.
McConchie questioned whether talks over a capital bill should be part of the end-of-session scramble to produce a state budget.
"While we have a deadline at the end of the month for the legislative session, this is something that, if we're going to do it in a bipartisan way, could be done taking the next few months to get it done right," he said. "That's what I think should be the priority, not to try to rush and jam something together just to try to get it done before the end of May."
Democratic Rep. Marty Moylan of Des Plaines, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, did not immediately endorse the proposal, which he said he is still reviewing.
"I'm going to need to look at each one and consider the district and how they could help," he said.
Public transit officials will be pushing for more money as negotiations continue. The small share devoted to trains and buses compared with roads is "not Illinois' best return on investment," said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard, who called on incoming Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to join him in fighting for additional funds.
"We hope she will realize that these percentages are problematic for the CTA, Metra and Pace, then weigh in the Springfield negotiations," Dillard said in an email.
The state's last major infrastructure plan, then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now program, was approved in 2009 and paid for with revenue from video gambling, online sales of lottery tickets, sales taxes on candy and alcohol, and increased vehicle fees.
Quinn's successor, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, talked about then need for a capital bill throughout his one term but never made a proposal as he battled the Democratic-controlled legislature over the state budget and his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.