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A Publication of WTVP

Bipartisan support from our legislators for the federal transportation bill reauthorization is going to have a huge impact on the City of Peoria. Indeed, how lucky we are to have had the support of Congressman Ray LaHood and Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama. When compared to past spending on transportation, the current bill shows a $1.5 billion increase for the State of Illinois. Putting more people to work will provide a significant boost for the economy in the Peoria area and the whole state. Many of these jobs will be professional construction jobs paying a good wage. Growth in these areas will spin off additional jobs too.

Also noteworthy was that the President signed the bill at the Caterpillar plant in Montgomery, near Aurora. Our premier local company, Caterpillar, hosting the signing ceremony of this important bill that was supported by both of our U.S. Senators and Congressman LaHood: there’s a trifecta to make us all proud. I look forward to seeing Caterpillar tractors doing a lot of work on the roads included in the bill.

Specifically for the Peoria area, the bill contains $2.6 million towards the Pioneer Parkway extension from Allen Road to Route 91, $800,000 towards the parking structure on the Museum Block, $3.6 million to continue construction of Route 336 from Macomb to Peoria, and $2.4 million for the Corridor Study of the Ring Road/ Eastern Peoria bypass & bridge.

The leadership provided by our representatives in Congress to secure these dollars allows us to expand access into the growth cells and outward. The extension of Pioneer Parkway to Route 91 will be a very expensive project, but one that’s critical to the flow of traffic between Allen Road and Route 91. Getting to the new medical facilities and shopping center, in addition to the residential growth areas in that part of town, will be much quicker and safer when the road is extended. Additionally, connecting Peoria to Macomb via Route 336 will increase opportunities for commerce between our cities. Mark Johann and others have been working tirelessly on the 336 initiative for years, and I applaud him and the 336 Coalition for all of their hard work. Hopefully someday that connection will go all the way to Kansas City.

The example of bipartisan support for the transportation bill shown by Rep. LaHood, Sen. Durbin, and Sen. Obama gives our local elected officials a model. Projects that are good for Pekin, like the upgrade of Veterans Parkway, are good for Peoria and the surrounding area too. Upgrades to Illinois Technology Boulevard in East Peoria are good for East Peoria and also for Peoria and the surrounding area. Similar improvements in Bartonville and Washington are going to help the rest of central Illinois. When one segment of our community benefits, we all benefit. I’m looking forward to working with my fellow central Illinois mayors and their councils as we strive to grow our cities and improve our quality of life.

A heartfelt thank you is in order to Congressman LaHood, Sen. Durbin, and Sen. Obama. IBI

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