[PEORIA, IL] – A $10 million federal grant to the City of Peoria to revitalize the city’s Warehouse District is now at risk after House Republicans passed their spending bill, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said today. The project’s funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER II program is immediately eliminated in the House of Representatives spending bill for the current fiscal year (FY11), which was approved by the House early Saturday morning. The bill cuts more than $6.8 billion in transportation spending to states and communities, including Peoria, which have already been promised funding. The “rescission” of funding will result in a loss of nearly $110 million in private investment and cost as many as 1,000 jobs in the Peoria alone, if the bill becomes law. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration where Durbin will fight to keep the funding.
“Just five months ago, I joined many of you to announce a $10 million TIGER II grant to revitalize the Warehouse District, create jobs, and boost economic development. Today I am here to tell you that the House Republicans want to stop this grant and the jobs it creates. In the past few months, the City has moved quickly to take advantage of this federal investment in an effort to get people back to work, and expects to begin construction as early as September 2012. The Mayor has made great progress. But, if the House has its way, that progress would screech to a halt immediately.”
“This mindless cut is a clear signal that the House bill is not the product of a thoughtful effort. Yes, we need to cut spending, but we need to do so in a responsible manner. We shouldn’t abandon our commitments to creating jobs and economic development in the midst of this recession,” Durbin said.
“You all have worked for years to bring this project to the finish line. I hope you’ll all work with me in the crucial weeks ahead to ensure the Warehouse District receives the investment it was promised.”
A new complete street network in Peoria’s Warehouse District is expected to remove obstacles to development in the area. While the Warehouse District is a prime location for investment, the current condition of District’s infrastructure is hindering development. Improving the nearly 15,000 feet of streets in the area would alleviate this situation. Public investment in roads and private construction on this project were expected to support between 950 and 1,150 jobs. Private developers had also planned to build 350 residential units and more than 100,000 square feet of new commercial space, injecting nearly $110 million in private investment into the area.
The Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program was created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to give local communities the chance to apply directly to the federal government for funding their highest priority transportation projects. In order to meet the overwhelming demand, Congress authorized a second round of funding through the TIGER II program. In February 2010, three Illinois transportation projects, including the Peoria Warehouse District project, received a total of $22.8 million in funding through this program.