SPRINGFIELD - A proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution will be on the November 8th ballot, something that is news to most Illinoisans. Information from Secretary of State Jesse White is hitting mailboxes statewide and ads paid for by Citizens to Protect Road Funding are appearing online and on TVs.
The argument they raise is that 4200 Illinois bridges and fifty percent of the state's roadways have fallen into disrepair and there's no money in the Illinois treasury to correct the situation. Instead of keeping $6 billion in dedicated road funds safely set aside for infrastructure, state lawmakers passed budgets and bills that authorized "sweeping" the road fund over the past ten years to use elsewhere.
That means Illinois' roads, highways and bridges are a mess with little hope of change.
Unless the people of Illinois decide the situation is so dire that lawmakers can no longer be trusted to discipline spending to be used as taxpayers are told their money will be used, the only way it will happen is for the state's constitution to force them to do what they promise.
Citizens to Protect Road Funding presents a fairly compelling argument for a road fund lock box, if three-fifths of the people voting in Illinois on November 8th agree with them.
There will be a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that would require all transportation-related revenue to be dedicated solely to public highways, roads, streets, bridges, and mass transit.
If the Amendment passes, transportation funding will be secured, and we will have the chance to make long overdue investments in our infrastructure.
If the Amendment fails, money for transportation will continue to be at risk of mismanagement and abuse by Springfield.
Illinois Board of Elections' records show that Illinois highway construction, concrete and asphalt companies are pouring funds into Citizens to Protect Road Funding's effort to change the constitution. So are construction associations, as well as those that run heavy construction machinery - the International Union of Operating Engineers.
With the passage of the constitutional amendment, construction companies will be guaranteed business and revenue forever - or until the amendment would be reversed.
First, state employee pensions get constitutionally-protected priority. With the passage of the Safe Roads amendment, road and bridge construction would be next up.
Democrats in control of the Illinois Senate and House are most often showered with campaign funds from these organizations and businesses - but when the measure passed the Illinois Senate both Democrats and Republicans joined to unanimously support the effort. In the Illinois House, only four - all Democrats - opposed the measure.
There's no organized effort against the Safe Road Amendment. Illinois voters are on their own to decide.
Are Illinoisans so cynical and distrustful of their state lawmakers that they can no longer trust them to spend our tax dollars wisely? Has it come to the point that a change to the state Constitution is called for in order to force lawmakers to do what's right?
If so, there's much more wrong in Illinois than with the Road Fund being swept. The most effective change for the state's welfare would be instead to sweep the Illinois General Assembly of its incompetent and ruthless members. That's something determined Illinois voters must do on their own because the proposed constitutional amendment that would force term limits was suffocated to death by self-satisfied Democrats.
We're at the point of saying if the Illinois Democrats and their groupies want it, it's no good for Illinois - now or in the future.
Thus, we're voting "no" on the Safe Roads amendment. And we're voting out abusive Democrats.
What will you do?