DeKalb County Online is pleased to announce that Joe Sosnowski, Illinois state representative for the 69th District, which covers Boone County, eastern Winnebago County and northern DeKalb County, has been selected by our Editorial Board as the inaugural recipient of our Random Acts of Statesmanship Award.
A common saying throughout the 6,963 local units of government in Illinois is “what is pork to one is a treasure to another.” Illinois is one of the top “pork” producing states in the union and has the debt to prove it. Sosnowski is that rare politician with the backbone to call it pork. It takes a backbone for a politician to become a statesman.
Rockford’s Lyford Street bus transfer station became the first Illinois transit project completed with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act when it opened its doors on May 23, 2012.
But a WTVO 17 Eyewitness News investigation has found that three years after it was built at a cost of $8.1 million dollars the station is barely used.
Sosnowski was on the Rockford City Council when the controversial project was proposed. He asked to see feasibility study information and planning and saw there was just very little of it. That raised a lot of red flags about the feasibility of the proposal actually working and he voted against the project.
It was not a popular vote. Longtime Rockford Register Star (and Rockford Journal before that) columnist suggested Sosnowski was just being a grumpy old man. Federal money used for a local project is always a good thing. Right? The proof is in the pudding and after watching no one use the bus station for three years Sweeny has changed his mind. Pork is pork is pork is pork.
In exchange for the “free” federal money Rockford taxpayers must cover another $12,000 to operate the Lyford Street Station each month.
“If they just would have slowed the process down a little bit more to look at different possibilities [and] to have a true study, to evaluate their future needs, I think we would have been in a different situation today,” said Sosnowski.
Sosnowski served as DeKalb’s 7th ward alderman from 1999 – 2003. He is a 1999 graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Political Science.
We miss him.
Editors’ note: Random Acts of Statesmanship will be awarded sporadically on an as earned basis. Decisions of the DeKalb County Online editorial board are not final. Like Sweeny, we reserve the right to change our minds.
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