15% of the state budget in Illinois this year is going toward pensions. That means there's less to spend on other needs.
The gap between what has Illinois promised employees they will get when they retire and what the state has set aside to pay those pensions is $83 billion. State government would have to completely shut down for two-and-a-half years, and use all of that operating budget money on pensions, to pay off that debt.
Illinois will acquire new rail cars for all of the in-state Amtrak routes. Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said the new cars will address the increase in ridership experienced by the service for the past five or six years.
“They're going to be bi-level cars,” Schneider said. “It allows us to transport more passengers on the same footprint. So it makes it more efficient and it gives us opportunity to expand service without having to add train sets.”
All of the seating on current cars is on the same level.
Hancock County's ambulance coordinator says patients are receiving quality care on their way to the hospital.
Perry Cameron admits the district has had a number of problems. At times, crews have not properly checked to make sure their ambulances are properly equipped. Some paperwork has been incompletely filled out. He says those problems obscure the quality of care patients are getting.