Durbin confident on Senate transportation bill's chances

March 9, 2012

Michell Eloy and The Associated Press

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said he expects a transportation funding bill to pass the Senate this week.

Lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a transportation bill, because current highway and transit funding programs are set to expire March 31.

The $109 billion Senate bill has bipartisan support.

Durbin said he hopes House Republicans will drop a rival transportation bill and consider the Senate version.

"When they put that bill out, Republican members of the House came home and took a beating. Not only from newspapers, but from business and labor groups and local elected officials who said that the House Republican transportation bill would be a disaster," said Durbin.

The House bill was criticized by both parties among Illinois lawmakers.

Critics say that bill would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from Illinois roadway, railway, and public transportation programs.