Members of the Illinois congressional delegation are calling for a new federal transportation program. The last full-fledged program was for $286 billion. President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2005 at the Caterpillar factory in Montgomery, Ill., and it ran through 2009. “Since then, we have not passed another long-term bill,” says U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Western Springs). “In fact, in the last six years we’ve gone through 11 short-term extensions. This is not good for our country.” The current extension expires May 31.
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Lipinski and others say highway and transit construction mean jobs, and the projects produce economic development.
Also, the Highway Trust Fund, supported by the federal gas tax, figures to run dry at the end of July. Fixing that will require either an increase in the federal motor fuel tax, which has been 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993, or some other source of revenue.