Durbin Discusses Need for Long-Term Transportation Bill with Mt. Vernon Leaders

[MOUNT VERNON] – Without Congressional action, transportation funding will stop flowing to states infrastructure projects in Illinois and across the country will be seriously jeopardized, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said today while meeting with Mount Vernon leaders. It’s been more than a month since the Senate passed a two-month stop-gap measure to keep the country’s major transportation and infrastructure programs running through the end of July, when the Highway Trust Fund is expected to become insolvent.

“We cannot patch our way to prosperity with temporary, short-term answers to long-term problems. In just the past six years, there have been more than 30 extensions of surface transportation programs. This is not the way to run the federal highway and transit program,” Durbin said. “The Highway Trust Fund provides the funding for projects like the expansion of I-57 and supports good-paying jobs across the country. The men and women building our nation’s roads and bridges deserve to know whether they’ll be paid on time and do not need another manufactured crisis to disrupt their lives.”

Federal funding is particularly important to Illinois transportation. More than 80 percent of Illinois’ transportation spending for its 6-year plan comes from the Highway Trust Fund. Each year, nearly $1.4 billion is dedicated for highways, roads, and bridges and $600 million goes to Illinois’ transit systems. U.S. Census Bureau data shows the design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure supports 138,701 full-time jobs in Illinois. These employees earn a total annual payroll of $5.7 billion and contribute an estimated $500 million in state and federal payroll tax revenue.

The President proposed a six-year, $478 billion bill that increases overall transportation investment by 45 percent. And it gives our states, transit agencies, and businesses the certainty they need with a 6-year bill. Under this plan, Illinois would receive an additional $575 million annually to invest in repairing and modernizing our infrastructure.