Tuesday, May 17, 2005
ILLINOIS TO RECEIVE 33 PERCENT MORE FUNDING IN TRANSPORTATION BILL
OBAMA CALLS ON CONGRESS TO PASS STALLED LEGISLATION SOON
CHICAGO - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today said that Illinois will receive 33 percent more funding in the 2005 Transportation bill and asked Congress to immediately pass the stalled legislation.
"Under the current Senate Transportation bill, Illinois will receive 33 percent more funding than we did in 1998 - that's more than $1.5 billion dollars in additional funds over the five-year life of the bill," said Obama. "This funding couldn't come at a better time, because the American Society for Civil Engineers recently released a report card on America's infrastructure and gave our roads a D, our bridges a C, and our transit a D+. [http://www.asce.org/reportcard/2005/index.cfm]
"Here in Illinois, Chicago-area drivers are spending more time stuck in traffic than they were last year, and our region has the third-longest road delays in the country." [http://suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-traffic10.html]
Under the transportation bill passed in 1998, Illinois received an average of $927 million each year. Under the current Senate bill, Illinois will receive $1.235 billion, or $308 million more per year. Over the five-year life of the bill, that is $1.540 billion more for Illinois, an increase of 33.25 percent more each year than under TEA 21. This increase is higher than the rate of increase for 38 states.
"To make this law, and to bring the transportation funding that will create thousands of jobs to Illinois, we must pass the Transportation bill soon. For too long, it's been delayed because the President has insisted on less funding for our transportation needs. But we know that when it comes to transportation and infrastructure development, less funding means fewer jobs.
Obama said that for every $1 billion spent on transportation infrastructure, it is estimated that 24,000 new jobs are supported. By providing Illinois with $1.2 billion per year in transportation funding, this bill will support tens of thousands of new jobs for Illinois families.
"Construction season is rapidly approaching, and we can't afford to delay this crucial funding any longer," said Obama. "It's a time to put people to work at improving our roads and our bridges and our public transportation so that Illinois can still be the crossroads of a 21st century America."