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Durbin urges state lawmakers to pass construction bill

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

By Gabriel Spitzer, IL Public Radio

Chicago, Ill. – Illinois' senior U.S. Senator says state lawmakers need to pass a construction spending bill before they adjourn, because without it Illinois could lose billions in federal dollars.

Illinois's congressional delegation says more than $6 billion dollars is at risk, money that came from the 2005 federal highway bill, almost all of which requires a state match.

Sen. Dick Durbin says the General Assembly must appropriate that money, or the federal investment disappears.

"We fought hard for this money," says Durbin. "We competed with other states, we were successful. It means that federal dollars are finally coming back to our state.

"But those dollars are going to be wasted and lost if we don't have a capital bill coming out of our state government soon."

Durbin and a bipartisan group of federal legislators sent a letter to the General Assembly, beseeching them to find more than a billion dollars in matching funds.

Officials at the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials say states almost always come through with the money.