US transportation bill receives objections from Democrats and Republicans

By WEEK Producer

February 14, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 2:25 AM CDT

A US transportation bill favored by house republicans has run into a buzz saw of objections from unified Democrats, some Republicans, conservatives and the President.

The bill would, according to opponents, reduce highway aid to Illinois by about $900 million, cut revenue to downstate mass transit districts and potentially result in less funding for Amtrak.

Opposition to the $262 billion house transportation bill has created some rare bi-partisanship. Chicago area politicians Democrat Dan Lipinski and Republican Robert Dold are jointly fighting the bill.

"The bill slashes spending for highways, It undermines public transit," said Lipinski.

"Estimates well over $650 million of cuts to the region are not good for jobs. They're not good for mass transit. They're not good for rail," said Dold.

Peoria Congressman Aaron Schock backs the bill.

Former Peoria Congressman and US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called the bill "lousy" and said "it takes us back to the dark ages."

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is pushing the Senate's version of a transportation bill.

" This bill has bipartisan support. That's not a word you hear much around here," said Durbin.

Facing all that opposition, and knowing that there have already been 300 amendments to the bill, House Speaker John Bohner decided Tuesday to let members vote separately on the transportation, energy and pension provisions.

"There are a lot of things in this bill which are unnecessary," said Representative John Garamendi.

If the bill does pass the House and the Senate, the President has promised a veto.

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