Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Little Engine that Couldn't

In today's Dispatch/Argus:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has released his proposed construction budget and there is no funding included for a high-speed rail project in the Quad-Cities.

Last Wednesday, Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, said he expected the construction budget to include $20 million for the creation of a passenger rail line between Rock Island and Geneseo, with the goal of someday connecting to Chicago.

But when the governor released his proposed budget late last week, it made no mention of the project.

Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said Monday that's because, "there's nothing in the budget for high-speed rail in the Quad-Cities."

The project isn't IDOT's top high-speed rail priority and Mr. Vanover said the department was not aware that a formal request has yet been made at the federal level, a step that would have to come first before the state could follow through with matching funds.

It may not be on high on IDOT's radar, but it is on the priority list for the Senate Democratic Caucus, and Sen. Jacobs says he's still confident it will make the cut.

He said he will fight during negotiations this spring to see that the money for high-speed rail makes it into the final capital budget approved by lawmakers.

In fact, if the final capital budget doesn't include money for the high-speed rail project or money for the Western Illinois University Quad-Cities campus, Sen. Jacobs said he will not vote for it.

"If the governor's interested in my vote, he's going to work with me," he said.

The governor's plan does include $29 million for an expansion of John Deere Road and $12 million for a school in Silvis.
Hard to imagine Sen. Jacobs prematurely jumping in to try to take credit for anything and everything, eh? But it seems that perhaps this news lets a little hot air out of his balloon.

I keep thinking of the Springfield Monorail on the Simpsons.

Lyle Lanley: Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
Like a genuine,
Bona fide,
What'd I say?

Ned Flanders: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

Patty+Selma: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: That's right! Monorail!

[crowd chants `Monorail' softly and rhythmically]

Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud...

Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

Barney: What about us brain-dead slobs?

Lyle Lanley: You'll be given cushy jobs.

Abe: Were you sent here by the devil?

Lyle Lanley: No, good sir, I'm on the level.

Wiggum: The ring came off my pudding can.

Lyle Lanley: Take my pen knife, my good man.

I swear it's Springfield's only choice...
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: What's it called?

All: Monorail!

Lyle Lanley: Once again...

All: Monorail!

Marge: But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...

Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!

All: Monorail!

[big finish]


Homer: Mono... D'oh!


Anonymous,  11:17 AM  

Why stop in Geneseo, so close to the Atkinson/Annawan corridor that's primed for commuter-heavy development

The Inside Dope 2:27 AM  

You are so right! Why hasn't anyone thought of tapping that sizzling market? HA!

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