Lipinski Holds Meetings with Local Mayors, Alderman to Discuss Local Issues and Federal Funding Opportunities (October 19, 2009)

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) gathered local leaders last week to discuss their communities' needs and the help he can provide in obtaining federal funding - a particularly important subject now, as many local governments are struggling to pay for vital projects because of the recession.

"My door is always open to local leaders, and I stand ready to work with them to improve the quality of life in every community in the Third District," Congressman Lipinski said. "Since I was elected, I've obtained $160 million for important local projects. These days, that kind of assistance is more critical than ever. The economy's woes mean that despite their best efforts many municipalities are having a tough time just covering day-to-day operating costs, leaving little money for road work, water and sewer work, land acquisition, environmental clean-up, and public safety equipment. Those are the sorts of infrastructure projects and purchases that I can help turn from an item on a wish list into a reality."

Mayors and Village Presidents from 15 municipalities and several Chicago aldermen joined Congressman Lipinski on Monday for an update on what types of projects are eligible for federal funding, the application process, and requirements for matching local contributions.

"I'm very pleased that Congressman Lipinski is working so closely with the municipalities in his district and explaining the process for getting funding," Justice Mayor Kris Wasowicz said. "He's doing a wonderful job. The results are visible."

"We are continually thankful and impressed with the openness and willingness to listen of Congressman Lipinski," Bedford Park Village President David Brady said. "The information was very helpful, and in fact we've already started working on some projects after learning what funding is available."

"Congressman Lipinski has been accessible and successful in delivering federal assistance to our city," Hickory Hills Mayor Mike Howley said. "Times are tough for local government at the moment, which makes the congressman's efforts all the more welcome."

Among other things, Congressman Lipinski discussed the need for Congress to immediately pass a new transportation reauthorization bill, which is the main source of federal funding for roads, highways, bridges, and public transit - and which provides a tremendous amount of assistance for local municipalities' transportation projects. The White House wants to wait 18 months to pass a bill, but Lipinski believes fast action is needed. Lipinski secured $126 million for local projects in the last federal transportation bill.

"Anyone who has spent time driving or on public transportation has experienced delays and frustration that make it clear just how badly we need new transportation funding," Lipinski said. "As the only Northeastern Illinois member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I'm pushing hard to move this bill through Congress so we can start taking care of business and put tens of thousands of people back to work in the Third District and throughout the country."

Representatives of the following municipalities attended the meeting: Riverside, North Riverside, Merrionette Park, Bedford Park, Hickory Hills, Countryside, Chicago, Palos Hills, Justice, Chicago Ridge, Summit, Hometown, Bridgeview, Stickney, Western Springs, and Willow Springs.

(October 19, 2009)