Durbin Stands Against House Efforts to Take Back More Than $240 Million in Federal Funding Already Promised to Quad Cities
In Illinois, Drastic Spending Cuts Would Seize More Than $390 Million Already Awarded, Put Nearly 10,000 Jobs in Jeopardy and Stifle Economic Recovery
[MOLINE, IL] – A $230 million federal grant to build a new rail line connecting Chicago to the Quad Cities and a $10 million federal grant to the City of Moline for a new, energy efficient, multimodal station are now both at risk after House Republicans passed their spending bill, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said today. Both projects’ funding 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 the Quad Cities, which have already been promised funding. If the bill becomes law, the “rescission” of funding will result in a loss of more than $47 million in private investment and, according to Renew Moline, could cost up to 750 construction jobs and another 1,000 in the Quad Cities alone. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration where Durbin will fight to keep the funding.
“Just a few short months ago, I joined many of you to announce a $10 million TIGER II grant through the Department of Transportation to build a new multimodal station in Moline and $230 million, jointly awarded to Illinois and Iowa, to create a new Chicago-Quad Cities Amtrak line. Together, these projects would create jobs and boost economic development across the region. Today, I’m here to tell you that the House Republicans want to stop this grant and the jobs it creates. Right here in the Quad Cities, that puts in jeopardy a total of more than 1,700 public and private sector jobs that would have been supported by these projects. Over the past four years, the Quad Cities and Amtrak have worked to put together an innovative plan to make passenger rail from Chicago to the Quad Cities a reality. With your hard work, we finished a comprehensive study, secured state and local matching dollars, and finally won a competitive federal grant to get this project moving. If the House has its way, all 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.
Every dollar spent on transportation projects returns $1.70 in reduced costs for transportation, fuel and pollution. The proposed multimodal station, which would serve as the Quad Cities stop for Amtrak service, will spur development in downtown Moline and throughout the Quad Cities region. Construction is expected to generate nearly 750 construction jobs and result in the retention or creation of 1,100 private sector jobs. An additional $47 million in private investment would come to the Quad Cities as a result of the transit-oriented development centered on the Amtrak station.
The new Chicago – Quad Cities – Iowa City passenger rail route, scheduled for completion in 2015, will create 588 jobs per year for the first four years of design and construction. Once initiated, the new service is expected to increase business activity in the region by $25 million per year.
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 Moline multimodal project, received a total of $22.8 million in funding through this program, all of which is rescinded under the House of Representatives’ recently passed continuing resolution.
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