In order to try and churn out more revenue to provide for a USD 13 billion construction program, the Illinois Senate approved three separate casinos to be built in the state.
The expansion was passed with a 37-15 vote in the Senate and will be sent to the House for further deliberation.
„Right now, this is about the best option we have to try and provide money for our many projects we have throughout the state,“ Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, said. „It seems like nothing will pass through the Senate and House to help pay for some of our funds,“ Luechtefeld added.
If the bill does pass through the House, one of the three casinos will be built in the Chicago area with the other two locations being determined later on.
„Part of the deal is that the three casinos will be spread out throughout the state of Illinois because, let’s face it, gambling is big business,“ Luechtefeld said.
Also written into the bill is USD 1.75 billion for school construction around the state, USD 150 million of which will go to 24 school districts who have been waiting for state construction fields for five years or more.
„There are schools around the state that have wanted to construct for many years and would love to build right now, but there just hasn’t been enough money to provide them,“ Luechtefeld said.
The bill would also provide around USD 585 million for projects yet to be completed at the state’s public universities, including USD 44 million to renovate ISU‘s Center for Fine Arts.
„It’s nice to know that the state has not forgotten about our campus and our needs down here,“ Adam Jun, a sophomore finance major, said.
Along with school districts around the state, many other capital projects, such as roads, bridges and sanitation departments, could use funds for improvement.
„There is a lot more work the Illinois Department of Transportation could be doing right now, work that should be getting done,“ Luechtefeld said.
With federal and local funds combined, Illinois roads and bridges could see a USD 15 billion increase in spending if the bill is passed in the House. To go along with these increases in spending, the financially strapped Chicago public transit system would also be eligible for a USD 200 million loan.
Although the bill passed rather easily in the Senate, there are no guarantees the House will follow suit.
„The bill passed in the Senate, so that’s a good start,“ Luechtefeld said.