Governor criticized for bridge groundbreaking trip

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ILLINOIS (WAND) – Democrats are criticizing Governor Bruce Rauner for a ceremony he is attending Monday afternoon.

He’s in Bettendorf, Iowa, taking part in a groundbreaking event for a new bridge on Interstate 74.  The project is a joint effort between Iowa and Illinois transportation leaders and costs over $300 million. The bridge would connect Bettendorf and Moline, Ill.

The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association says Gov. Rauner should be in Springfield as lawmakers push to solve the state’s budget issues. State construction work will stop if Illinois can’t reach a budget by the end of June.

"It takes a special kind of arrogance to call a $40,000 per day Special Legislative Session and then attend a photo-op out of state to promote a one-billion-dollar construction project that cannot start because of the budget crisis he created,” IDCCA president Doug House said in a statement. “I echo what other Democrats have said. Bruce Rauner should meet with legislative leaders every day until a compromise is reached on the state budget. He shouldn't be leaving the Illinois for photo-ops while the state burns down."

Dozens of lawmakers didn't show up at the start of the special session. Each day it runs, the cost to taxpayers jumps by tens of thousands of dollars. The running total reached over $200,000 this week.

WAND-TV reached out to the governor’s office for a comment.

“This is a critical transportation project for our state,” said spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis. “It illustrates what is possible if lawmakers show up to work, do their jobs and pass a balanced budget.” 

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