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Dialogue

Economic development needs key ingredients: hard-working, educated people, favorable geography, a commercial spirit and fluid infrastructure.

We have those ingredients, which is why Illinois is the nation’s crossroads. Lately, our transportation system has become ragged, rough and run-down.

Hopefully, our economic future will look up, because our state legislators recently passed a multi-year infrastructure bill, which will fill those potholes, repair bridges, renew water lines, airports, rails and public transport.

Our new governor, J.B. Pritzker, shepherded that bill through the legislature, engaging both parties. It was a breath of fresh air in Springfield when a balanced budget and capital bill passed with bipartisan support. I especially want to commend our three local Republican legislators, senators Jason Barickman and Bill Brady and state Rep. Dan Brady, for their support.

Voting to fix roads is always popular. These three also cast their vote for the harder subject, raising the gas tax and license fees to pay for the projects. The resulting bill is not a one-time, float-more-bonds and put-the-state-deeper-in-debt solution, but a 10-year, sustainable way to fix the potholes.

We voters should also remember that in 2016 we voted a “lock box” constitutional amendment, that gas tax and other fees can only be used for their intended purpose, not diverted to other uses. Hopefully, with our new governor and bipartisan legislation, Illinois’ economy and well-being is on the rise.

Mike Matejka, Normal

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