EDITORIAL - Without a unified voice we have a road to nowhere

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

If the Greater Peoria Area’s infrastructure  is going to become a priority for the Illinois General Assembly, there is a need for strong voices pushing the area’s agenda. 

Luckily several area chambers of commerce are speaking out for Central Illinois.

State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, came to Peoria Oct. 27 to hear their list of priorities for Central Illinois.

The problem is the business community, while an incredibly important voice, is not enough.

There are many competing voices in the ears of legislators and those voices are sending conflicting messages to legislators.

The result is delay after delay.

We can expect more delays because the funding mechanism that would help pay for the road projects desired so badly in the Tri-County Area is mired in politics. 

We are paying more taxes on items such as liquor, shampoo, soda and candy to help pay for a $35 billion capital improvement program in Illinois. The tax revenues raised, however, will not be nearly enough.

Sandoval said he harbored hopes that taxing video poker receipts might be added to the mix. But many counties throughout Illinois are opting out of that plan.

Adriana Colindres of GateHouse News Service reported Friday a package of legislation on video poker ran into roadblocks in Springfield. Two bills lacked sufficient support for passage. The House voted 66-46 for Senate Bill 744. The bill would have made several changes to the video poker plan lawmakers approved earlier this year. It needed 71 ‘yes’ votes for passage.

House Bill 1306, which offered a “stay-open” guarantee to video poker owners if the machines were banned locally, also failed. This result is a victory for local self-determination. But, it spells, at the very least, a temporary failure to get traction on the issue of infrastructure funding.

These delays allow our infrastructure to erode further. Delay put a roadblock on important projects such as the extension of Pioneer Parkway. That extension is sorely needed for continued commercial development.

The only way these roadblocks will be torn down is with the unified voice of many Illinoisans.

Legislators need to hear novel ideas for revenue generation, or at least know what their constituents will tolerate when it comes to taxes.

A lot of valuable time is being wasted.

Without a unified voice, the Greater Peoria Area will find itself stuck on a road to nowhere.