No surprise, Normal needs $6 million more to build the underpass

By: Diane Benjamin

This information was received by FOIA, I didn’t submit the FOIA.

Start here. Normal held an Open House in February to show off the Underpass plans. Staff created a SLIDE SHOW for the event. One item was originally in the presentation but was then deleted. See this email:

It now isn’t $23 million to save 50 feet – it’s just short of $30 million!

Remember the July 19, 2021 Normal Council meeting where the Town approved the $13 million grant from the Department of Transportation? See the packet here: https://www.normalil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4034

A few quotes in the DOT agreement:

PDF page 65:

PDF page 76:

PDF page 77

It seems pretty clear: That’s all the money the Town of Normal is going to get!

That didn’t stop of Town staff from applying for more money. They claim inflation is making the construction costs go from $19,232,000 to $25,232,000. They claim inflation of 1.54% was built into original estimates, but now inflation is 7.9%.

Do the math, estimates are 31.2% higher than last July when the Council accepted the grant.

I remember one Trustee questioning the cost at that July meeting since the they were estimated in 2019, of course he was told he was wrong. Any guesses on which Trustee?

Normal is trying to snag more money that hasn’t been allocated from the Build 2019 and Build 2020 grant fund. See the APRIL 2022 application below.

PDF page 3, I wonder how many Trustees even know it’s now $29,942,120 to save 50 feet? How many “professional staff” still have jobs? (I bet all of them)

I wonder if Dick Durbin is batting for Koos at the Department of Transportation?

If you like your pot-hole roads and yellowish brown water you get to keep both. (Yes that water comment was a hint to a future story)

21 thoughts on “No surprise, Normal needs $6 million more to build the underpass

  1. Here is the answer. Giant Railway Underpass in 5 Hours! | Giant Pop-Up Constructions – India | Free Documentary

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    | | | | Giant Railway Underpass in 5 Hours! | Giant Pop-Up Constructions – India…

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    Art RodriguezChairman McLean County VACAMVETS District IV Commander American Legion Member

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    1. Hmm, that’s strange, Art. In past FOIA docs, I recall seeing a letter of support from you and your organization for this project. It’s signed by you with your name and title on it. It shouldn’t take me long to find it if anyone wants to see it. Maybe it will refresh your memory. Not sure why you would write a support letter privately only to speak against the project publicly. Interesting.

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  2. WOW! I can’t believe someone does not call a timeout and pull the plug on this huge waste of taxpayer dollars. The list of what could be accomplished with $30,000.000.00 is endless compared to building an underpass.

    So if one million people (a generous estimate) use the underpass in the next ten years, that comes at a cost of $30.00 per person each time someone uses it! Hardly a good value to the taxpayers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m surprised people don’t pull the plug on the city’ council full stop! Raise taxes raise water bill raise electric rates raise cost of schools how much more before people take their faces out of their social media and put a stop to them.

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    1. I expect Scott Preston will be equally as worthless as State Rep. I’ll be thinking “$30M for 50 feet” every time he pontificates about being fiscally responsible on his campaign trail.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This was predictable, and just the start of bad news for taxpayers. Now would be the time to scrap this unnecessary luxury that would only serve a small number of users. Contact your representative on the Normal Counsel before more of your money is wasted. The Federal and State grants are fixed, so any cost overruns will be paid by the citizens of Normal.

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  4. It should now be obvious to everyone that koos, reece, and the leftist progressive marxist staff have no intention of properly taking care of the roads by repaving instead of patching. They are liars and thieves. They want tax payer dollars for their pet projects and to employ unqualified people in unnecessary jobs. What a racket.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I suspect scope creep not incompetence. The town found an opportunity to take advantage of COVID to seek more fed money. Read the Reallocation Request. They are suddenly embellishing the impact of COVID so they can embellish the project.

    Why do I say this? Look at the “BUILD Grant Reallocation Request Doc.”

    See Question 1. Normal is misleading the feds about the financial realities of COVID on the town’s financials. They are communicating their estimated revenue loss instead of the huge financial windfall that was experienced. WGLT reported unexpected high sales tax revenues and overwhelming COVID relief dollars led to the over $13M surplus.

    See Question 2. Normal is now recognizing inflation will be an issue. Well, 11 days before the date on the “Grant Reallocation Request” Normal had their budget work session. During that meeting, the town staff said that even with inflation they received enough money for the Underpass.

    I don’t think Pam Reece is too stupid to recognize inflation this late in the game. This is strategic manipulation of the truth to deceitfully extract more of our tax dollars from the fed to fuel this already ridiculous pet project.

    Tell me I’m wrong…

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  6. 30,000,000 would repave 60 lane-miles of streets. Normal probably doesn’t have 600 miles. Streets could all be repaved every ten years. Streets overall can last that long. So spend that much every year end woo-lah, no potholes.

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  7. I see bike lanes with potholes. Hope you bike nazis fall off, scratch your helmuts and tear your fancy pants.

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