Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Franks Releases IDOT "Hold Harmless" Letter

State Sen. Pamela Althoff's McHenry County Board briefing Tuesday included the first public revelation of an Illinois Department of Transportation assurance to State Rep. Jack Franks (D)63 that funding for major county road projects would be targeted if revenue from video gaming were lost to a gambling ban.

John Webber, Assistant to the Secretary at IDOT, emailed Franks, "There is no intent to punish or do harm to any individual county for any reason.  The simple fact is that if too many counties opt out of the gambling program, revenues will not support the road repairs that are being funded."

On the other hand, you can't build just half a bypass or widen half a highway and Webber observed "no individual counties will be singled out or punished, but many may be impacted if revenues fall short of projections."

Franks, who was pushing at the time for a referendum on video gaming, asked IDOT what would happen if McHenry County chose to ban the machines. He sent the request Sept. 11 asking for an answer within 7 days.  Webber's response was dated Oct. 26. 

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