Blago begins release of state funds for pork projects
The governor has begun releasing $195 million for hundreds of projects around the state that were negotiated during his predecessor's term.It appears Blagojevich is banking that the Beatles were wrong and that money CAN buy you love.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has authorized the release of $7 million to protect Chicago's shoreline, $4 million for the Joffrey Ballet and millions of dollars more for road improvements, bike paths, parks and other pork projects, administration records showed.
The projects receiving money had executed grant agreements, which are basically contracts with the state, Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said.
Blagojevich ordered a freeze on funding for the projects after he became governor in January 2003. Last spring, he agreed to distribute about $470 million of the frozen funds.
Altogether, the $195 million now being released will be used to pay for more than 560 projects across the state that were first approved during the administration of Republican Gov. George Ryan.
Ryan's hometown of Kankakee will get about $3.3 million for street and library renovations, $980,000 for upgrades to a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed property, and $250,000 for the Kankakee County Historical Society, according to the records.
The sudden release of the money has apparently caught some officials off guard.
Blagojevich has not decided when the rest of the roughly $275 million will be released, Rausch said.