As reported by Politico, during the Fourth of July holiday the state legislature sent Governor Bruce Rauner a $36 billion budget in an attempt to avoid Illinois becoming the first state to have its bond rating lowered to “junk” status. While Rauner vetoed the proposed budget, the Senate overode the governor's veto, and a vote in the House to do the same could put an end to the state's budget crisis.
According to Scott Bernstein, the crisis has prevented state decision makers from showing leadership when it comes to transportation funding. “So I’m hoping that the budget settlement clears the pall,” he says. For example, he noted that Illinois Department of Transportation chief Randy Blankenhorn was effective at advocating for sustainable transportation when he was head of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. But the lack of a budget has made it impossible for Blankenhorn to address the state infrastructure repair backlog, let alone pursue smart strategies for improving Illinois’ transportation system.