(The Center Square) – Part of the annual state budget Illinois lawmakers are preparing to debate and approve on the last day of the session is $1 billion in federal funds for capital construction projects. Minority Republicans were left out.
On the final day of the Illinois Legislature’s spring session, details on how lawmakers plan to appropriate about $42 billion was reveled.
During a hearing about the spending plan Monday afternoon, there were questions about how $1 billion in federal taxpayer funds will be used for capital projects around the state.
“We talked about the $1 billion [American Rescue Plan Act] dollars going to capital projects,” said state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon. “How were those capital projects chosen?”
“Through the normal process by which all capital projects are chosen,” said House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago.
Democrats have a supermajority in both the House and Senate.
“What is that process?” Demmer asked
“The members make requests and the conference makes requests and they are fulfilled and then depending on the category, [Illinois Department of Transportation] has a five-year plan, members might have a request where they have a first, second and third priority and as funds are available they would be funded,” Harris said.
“Do you know if any requests came from Republicans for those projects?” Demmer asked.
“Not off the top of my head, no,” Harris said.
“We have a billion [dollars] of new capital projects that have been available but it appears that it was only known that those projects were available or eligible for requests from Senate Democratic and House Democratic caucus,” Demmer said.
“Certainly would be happy for you to come talk,” Harris said.