Stuck Salt Truck on Lake Shore drive Chicago storm resizeMonday, I voted to free up $3.1 billion in spending to sustain local communities, including crucial motor fuel tax revenue, which has been held up by the budget impasse in Springfield. My colleagues and I proved our resolve to make sure families and local governments have the money to continue functioning without a true budget in place.

Now, we must shift our focus to what remains to be budgeted, prioritizing higher education and critical community services, such as mental health and homeless programs. We have more work to do.

The legislation releases motor fuel tax revenue for communities throughout Cook County – communities such as Bellwood, Maywood, North Riverside, Westchester, Oak Park and River Forest – that can be used to prepare for winter storms and repair potholes. The exact dollar amount of how much communities are owed this year has not yet been released, but communities throughout Cook County received nearly $100 million in gas tax money last year.

Though, other areas of concern that have yet to be dealt with in the piecemeal budget process include MAP grant funding and other scholarships, services for rape victims, addiction treatment, immigrant language translation services, Teen Reach, epilepsy services and respite care.

Although we are taking important steps for local communities, thousands of families are still going without the services and resources they need.

Still, the legislation (SB 2039), which now goes to the governor’s desk for final approval, does include the following components.

• $582.5 million to IDOT for local governments share of motor fuel gas tax revenues

• $77 million for 911-related costs

• $1 billion to the Lottery for prizes

• $43 million to the Community College Board for career and technical education activities

• $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt

• $2.5 million for breast cancer services and research

• $165 million for home heating bill assistance

Read the legislation in its entirety. Get more information at