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Northern Illinois makes pitch for piece of federal transportation pie

Susan Stephens
Congressmen Don Manzullo and Bobby Schiller talk about transportation funding at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport.

Leaders from throughout northern Illinois pitched their most important transportation projects to two Congressmen yesterday. Republicans Don Manzullo and Bobby Schilling will recommend priorities for federal transportation funding to Governor Pat Quinn’s office. 

In the past, they could have been more directly involved with federal earmarks: now transportation money is divvied up by the states. Manzullo says it’s up to local leaders and state lawmakers to press the case for funding: he says “They’re going to have to come up with two or three items they think are most critical and lobby hard for those in Springfield.”

Congressman Schilling says it’s important for his colleagues to choose to handle proceedings civilly when next week’s transportation funding discussions begin. He says Congress needs to approach transportation funding as citizens and do what’s right for the nation, not the political parties.

Among the big projects pitched to the Congressmen: widening highways 20 and 30, adding a third runway to Rockford’s airport, and a number of road projects and street repairs scattered throughout Winnebago county.