Congress returns to work today (Tuesday), and Sen. Dick Durbin says passing a long-tern federal transportation funding bill is job one.
Durbin -- standing in front of an under-construction highway on Springfield's far west end -- says the current highway bill has been extended 34 times, and that can't continue.
"You can't build highways like this, and can't make a commitment as a state or locally, unless there's some certainly that the federal funds will be there," says Durbin (D-Springfield). "Eighty percent of all the highway construction in Illinois comes from federal funds."
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Durbin's office admits the measure passed along party lines, and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) says an alternative is being worked on.
"The Senate bill was a gimmick," says Davis. "Six year of policy and funded, at most, maybe for two years. We need to make sure we have a robustly-funded bill before we play politics."
The proposal, which Durbin says Congress should approve before the end of the month, calls for the gradual increasing of funding from $42.3 billion this fiscal year, to $48.7 billion by FY 2021. Durbin says he worked on the bill with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).