Labor leaders and local officials show support for bipartisan federal infrastructure bill

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill is receiving support locally.

During a Friday press conference, labor leaders and local officials say $12.9 billion dollars for Illinois are on the line as the bill heads to the House.

“This infrastructure deal is the biggest since the creation of the highway system. Which will grow our economy and help create good-paying jobs,” said Tony Penn, business manager for Great Plains Laborers’ District Council.

Leaders said, if passed, the bill would help fund projects like highway construction, bridge repairs, and safer drinking water.

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said in Peoria, about 17 percent of all water lines contain lead.

She also said surrounding communities are experiencing lead in their water lines as well.

“I don’t need to give any lessons about the significant impact that lead, once it enters a person’s human body, the lifelong impact that lead has on people,” Gordon-Booth said.

Gene Olson with the Peoria International Airport said the bill contains provisions that would help bring the air traffic control tower at PIA up to code.

“The building is falling apart and it’s not going to last forever, and we don’t have the resources to do it on our own,” Olson said.

State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal) was not in attendance at Friday’s press conference but said the bill could build on the momentum created by a capital bill passed in Illinois during the last budget cycle.

“The traditional bill that is in the Senate has the capability to complement many of the projects and to increase many of the projects we have here in Illinois,” Brady said.

Federal lawmakers are being urged to pass the infrastructure deal through the house.

“This is the lifeblood of communities and how communities thrive and survive, is making sure we do the job that government is supposed to do and that is fund roads and bridges, and lets get it done now,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria).

Brady said he does have concerns with a second $3.5 trillion dollar reconciliation bill that’s being discussed, and how it will be paid for.

Labor leaders said on Friday that it’s their hope that the bill does not intersect with the infrastructure piece.

The infrastructure bill passed through the house with bipartisan support, 19 Republicans and all 50 Democrats voted for the legislation.

The House is expected to vote on the infrastructure package by September 27th.

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