Republican lieutenant governor hopeful Joe Birkett blasted a plan to build miles of tollway sound walls out of brick rather than concrete as yet another example of Gov. Rod Blagojevich helping political friends.
“It’s favors for insiders and this time it’s the bricklayers. And I have nothing against bricklayers … but we shouldn’t be handing out contracts simply to appease contributors,” said Birkett, the DuPage County state’s attorney who’s allied with GOP governor candidate Judy Baar Topinka.
According to an internal memo obtained by the Daily Herald, the tollway plans to build 65 percent of its sound walls and retaining walls with brick rather than cheaper pre-cast concrete slabs over the next three years.It’s a plan that could cost anywhere from $19 million to $35 million in extra toll money, much of which will be spent on workers who will hand-lay the bricks — workers who are members of a union that has endorsed Blagojevich and donated $20,000 to his campaign.
Quite a legacy for Gov. Blagojevich: Hand-layed bricks, a veritable highway monument.