From an editorial in the Dispatch/Argus today:
What a difference a week makes.I share their concern and only hope that these transportation funds aren't a zero sum game. In other words, if Jacobs holds out for fund for this rail scheme, that it won't in turn cause the more important WIU campus project and other projects to get short-changed or lost altogether.
Last week, the big news in the Quad-Cities was that a high-speed rail link between Rock Island and Geneseo would be pulling into the station.
In a story published Jan. 19, state Sen. Mike Jacobs said he expected Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed construction budget to include $20 million for the train.
A high-speed train could be a huge economic boost to the area, Sen. Jacobs said, adding he was confident that money for the project would be included in the transportation part of the state capital budget. With additional federal funding, the initial track could serve as anchor for a $220 million line tying Rock Island and Chicago.
While the announcement seemed incredible - other officials said money in the budget for a high-speed link was news to them - the story generated buzz.
This week, the news is that there isn't any money in the governor's budget for the rail project.
"There's nothing in the budget for high-speed rail in the Quad-Cities," Matt Vanover, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said in Tuesday's editions.
Sen. Jacobs reaction? He may not support the governor's budget.
"If the governor's interested in my vote, he's going to work with me," Sen. Jacobs said.
In addition to money for the rail link, Sen. Jacobs wants money for the Western Illinois University Quad-Cities campus.
As it stands, the governor's plan includes $29 million to expand John Deere Road and $12 million for a school in Silvis.
We should never count our chickens before they hatch, especially when a political fowl lays the golden eggs. No doubt Sen. Jacobs will be more careful about assessing prospects before his next blockbuster announcement.
And no doubt he'll be more skeptical about what he hears.
As will we.
Meanwhile, we trust Sen. Jacobs' remarks will not imperil the funding for Quad-Cities' projects already in the budget. A bird is the hand is worth a train in the bush.
But from observing Blago, I wouldn't think he'd be too motivated to give out any goodies for this area as long as he felt he was going to carry it by a good margin in the primary. Why give us a pile when he could better use it to play Santa in areas where he's more threatened politically?
I think the only way to get his attention is to make him aware that there will be at least a little pain if he takes this area for granted.