Lipinski Opposes House GOP's Partisan Transportation Bill that Hurts Northeastern Illinois and the State; Urges a Bipartisan Approach (February 2, 2012)
On Friday, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) voted against the House Republicans' ill-conceived and highly partisan surface transportation reauthorization bill, which cuts transportation funding for Illinois, slashes funding for public transit, and threatens safety and the environment.
"I've been working for years to pass a robust, multi-year transportation reauthorization that creates jobs in both the short term and the long term by fixing our highways, mass transit, bridges, and railways and reducing congestion and delays that cost our country billions of dollars," Rep. Lipinski said. "But this bill is not about investing in infrastructure and doing what is right for the American people, it's about advancing a partisan agenda. It is bad for northeastern Illinois, and it has no chance of passing the Senate. The fact that the Republicans presented us with an 800-page bill just days before today's committee markup and without giving Democrats any opportunity to provide input shows just how bad things have gotten in Washington. While I was able to get some changes made to improve the bill during the 18-hour markup, it was not possible to make the critical changes needed in this massive bill to make it work for my constituents, the people of Illinois, and the nation. In its history, this committee has never produced a surface transportation bill in this manner. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee took a very different approach and the result was a bill that received unanimous bipartisan support in committee. House Republicans should learn from that."
The Republican legislation would slash highway and transit funding for Illinois by hundreds of millions of dollars between now and 2016. It significantly reduces funding for rail programs, including cutting Amtrak by $308 million. And it cuts a funding program for projects of national significance such as the CREATE rail modernization program, which is reducing congestion in northeastern Illinois.
"We need a transportation bill that is equal to the challenges we face and reflects the input of both parties," Rep. Lipinski said. "Instead, we got a bill that fails to do what needs to be done, and embodies a narrow, partisan agenda. The surface transportation reauthorization bill is already more than two years overdue. It is especially important for the Chicago region that we get this right. We are America's transportation hub, and for the sake of our economy and job creation, we need a good bill. It's time to work together to produce legislation that we can all agree on and pass it as soon as possible."