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State Paying For Parking Lots Most Taxpayers Will Never Use

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois is broke, but not so broke apparently.

CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports, elected officials have chosen to spend lots of your taxpayer dollars on parking lots you'll likely never, ever use.

"It's disappointing," said Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute Kristina Rasmussen. "Our politicians are asking us to pay for low-priority projects."

And it turns out pavement's pricey.

Rasmussen crunched the numbers and learned the state is throwing a few million dollars at parking lot construction, re-paving or repairing in places you might never park your car.

For example, if you didn't live in Oswego, would you use its library?

It's on the state parking lot list for about $200,000. The library dipped into its own reserves to get the job done sooner. It hopes for reimbursement.

Library Director Sarah Skilton says the lot expansion was necessary because use of the facility went up during the recession.

But Rasmussen has a different take: "That is a local priority."

On the private side, Lake Shore Academy is slated to get nearly $100,000 to get rid of potholes.

Maria High School is on the list for a $125,000 re-paving.

The K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center wants to fence and re-pave its lot for kids' activities. It's supposed to get $70,000.

"We're using funds to keep children safe," Executive Director Torrey Barrett said.

"We're a linchpin in the community – a real anchor," Maria President Wendy Lynn said.

The office of House Minority Leader Tom Cross, who the Oswego Library director called "a great supporter," says legislators agreed to set a part of the capital bill aside for local projects.

The Illinois Policy Institute says politicians need to take a close look at what's necessary as opposed to what's nice.

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