Durbin Hosts Meeting with Southern Illinois Leaders, Bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Discuss Regional Priorities

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today hosted a meeting with members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation representing Southern Illinois and local leaders from the region. Former U.S. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL), U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and U.S. Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL), Mike Bost (R-IL), and Rodney Davis (R-IL) attended the meeting. Durbin convened the meeting to discuss two major priority issues for the region: efforts to increase rail capacity in Southern Illinois, and Scott Air Force Base’s position as a finalist to house a new facility of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).


“Today, I hosted members of the Congressional Delegation representing Southern Illinois in my office to discuss ongoing efforts to build on the region’s existing infrastructure and create jobs and economic development. This group included Members of Congress both past and present, from both sides of the Capitol, and both sides of the aisle. Because when it comes to the future of Southern Illinois, we’re all on the same team,” Durbin said.


B-roll of today’s meeting is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.


In addition to the Members of Congress, today’s meeting was also attended by Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chair; John Nations, President and CEO of the Bi-State Development Agency; and Mary Lamie, Executive Director of the Regional Freight District.


The Department of Defense named Scott Air Force Base as a finalist to house a new facility for the NGA in July 2014. The current NGA facility – which includes multiple buildings located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri – is more than 100 years old. The aging buildings at the NGA’s current location require high maintenance costs, and do not meet either force protection standards or seismic safety standards.


In December 2014, Durbin and Kirk sent the Director of the NGA a letter in support of housing a new NGA facility at Scott Air Force Base. Durbin, who serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, has also met with leadership at Scott and NGA Director Cardillo earlier this year to discuss Scott’s application to house the new facility.


Earlier this month, the NGA released an environmental analysis of the four sites that have been selected as finalists to house the new NGA facility, including Scott. The agency is currently holding a final round of public hearings on the possible relocation, including an event in St. Claire County on October 28.