Herald-Whig View

Pritzker visit again shows governor's interest in area

Posted: Mar. 1, 2020 12:01 am

A VISIT last week from Gov. J.B. Pritzker might not have brought much new information, but what wasn't said at the Oakley-Lindsay Center on Thursday might be more important than what was.

Pritzker stopped in the Gem City to highlight several projects in the region as part of the state's $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan. The work will include resurfacing Ill. 57 and a $230 million reconstruction of the Illinois Veterans Home.

And the Illinois Department of Transportation now is accepting bids for 7.1 miles of milling and resurfacing Ill. 57 between Maine Street in Quincy to the south corporate limits of Marblehead. The project also includes American with Disabilities Act ramps, bridge deck replacement traffic signal improvements and shoulder installation.

Importantly, the state already also is moving forward with a study "to determine feasible alternatives" for improving the highway, including adding lanes.

All of this work is badly needed, and we are grateful for this work that will be of vital importance to the region's economic future.

But it all was information that had previously been made available.

The more important message, for us, was the fact the governor made it a point to stop in Quincy to personally share the information and hear directly from local officials about the impact the work will have.

The governor has shown a willingness since taking office to seek pragmatic solutions to the state's problems, even if those solutions are not always pleasant. No one wants to pay higher taxes, but as Pritzker has pointed out, solving crises such as the pension debacle and the backlog of unpaid bills will take a combination of actions, including increasing revenue and sensibly controlling expenses. There is no one magic pill that will cure what ails Illinois.

The fact the governor has taken the time to bring that message to deep-red West-Central Illinois shows he understands that rebuilding the state will require working with every region in the Land of Lincoln. And we hope it shows he is more concerned with the state's success than he is with appeasing political partners.

While we might not always agree with the steps being taken, we cannot help but commend the governor for his work to keep lines of communication open. We look forward to working with him where we can to advance the region's economic interests.

And we again offer our thanks to state Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, and state Rep. Randy Frese, R-Paloma, for their help in the passage of the Rebuild Illinois program, and to Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore for his work to keep the city's economic development needs in front of the governor. It is only through the combined efforts of all Illinoisans -- Republican and Democrat alike -- that the state will find true success.