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Illinois House back in session today, for one vote

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By Amanda Vinicky, IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois House will be in session today (Tuesday) and today only.

Lawmakers are slated to deal with one issue: the Chicago region's financially bleeding mass transit network.

Executives of the transportation network say they need cash and without it, the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace say they'll cut routes and hike fares on September 16th.

The House is scheduled to vote on a bailout plan. It involves increasing the sales tax in Cook County and the five collar counties.

Mass transit systems in the rest of the state would receive more state money.

After voting on that measure, representatives have been told they can go home.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the chamber will not take action this week on the budget.

When he signed the spending plan into law, Gov. Rod Blagojevich cut millions of dollars worth of local projects the members had requested.

Brown says he's seen an unprecedented outcry over the cuts, but rather than rush it, the House will take time to examine the impact the cuts will have.

He says many of the groups counting on the state funding are looking for a forum to air their concerns, adding the House might hold regional, public hearings.

Blagojevich says he cut "pork" from the budget. He says he'll instead use the money to expand health care coverage.

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