U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th) today toured a Vulcan Materials Company Quarry in Joliet, meeting with quarry workers and discussing transportation projects that await a long-term federal transportation bill. Currently, state and local transportation managers are operating under short-term funding that will expire on June 30th. Joining Biggert were officials from the Transportation for Illinois Coalition (TFIC), a coalition of labor and construction groups that support reliable funding for Illinois roads, bridges and mass transit.
"The silent equipment and stockpiles of unsold crushed stone at quarries across Chicagoland reflect a backlog of transportation projects," said Biggert. "We should be in the midst of a busy construction season, but uncertainty in Washington is stalling progress on jobs, roads, and transit. That's why it's so important for House and Senate leaders to agree on a multi-year transportation bill that will boost our economy and put construction workers, engineers, and aggregate producers back to work."
"Congress needs to act quickly to pass a long-term, multi-year transportation bill that will boost the economy and put thousands of America's construction workers back on the job," said Jeff May, area manager, Vulcan Materials Company, whose products literally build roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. "We thank Congresswoman Biggert for her leadership and support."
Biggert has been working with a bipartisan group of colleagues to fight for a multi-year bill that would reflect suburban priorities. She and her colleagues were successful in blocking a proposal that would have eliminated the guaranteed 20 percent share for mass transit, including Metra and Pace. They also united behind several key amendments to extend commuters tax credits and fund regionally significant projects, like the STAR Line. Biggert also sent a letter to House budget leaders urging them to consider the bipartisan Senate proposal, which the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates would support 67,900 Illinois jobs.
"We appreciate Congresswoman Biggert taking the time to see a quarry in-person and hear from those in the field about the dire economic circumstances that result from a lack of infrastructure investment," said John Henriksen, vice chairman of TFIC and host for the tour. "Our message is clear: we need support from Congress to put people back to work maintaining our roads, bridges and transit systems. It's encouraging that we can count on the leadership of Congresswoman Biggert and others in the Illinois delegation."
"This isn't a Republican or Democrat issue, and it should not fall victim to election-year gridlock," said Biggert. "Short-term fixes are not enough. I'm urging House and Senate negotiators to pass a long-term bill and give the green light to 67,900 Illinois transportation jobs that will keep our roads safe and our commerce moving."