House members lobby for changes to GOP transportation bill

February 21, 2012

Michell Eloy

(AP/File)
Congresswoman Judy Biggert

Some Illinois congressional members are lobbying for changes to a House Republican-backed transportation bill.

Republican Reps. Bob Dold and Judy Biggert joined Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski on Tuesday to support some proposed amendments to the hotly debated bill that's on hold in the House.

Specifically, the three congressional members want public transportation to continue receiving a 20 percent share of the federal fuel tax, something established during the Reagan administration and no longer guaranteed in the current bill.

Without the funding, they said Illinois could lose $450 million in mass transit funding. That would be in addition to losing an estimated $900 million in highway funding that could come as a result of other proposed cuts, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Biggert said House leadership knows the current bill would have a hard time getting enough votes to pass.

"I think that they're responsive to what we have said, and hopefully we can find a way to have them change the bill," said Biggert.

The three Illinois congressional members said they also want some current tax incentives for transit riders and funding for long-term projects returned to the bill.

The amendments are scheduled for debate in the House next week.