Illinois chamber says FAST Act is 'good news' for state

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce said Friday that the state's deteriorating roadways will get the help they need in the coming years - thanks to passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which will ensure five years' worth of funding through federal programs.

“As the transportation hub of North America, this is good news for Illinois businesses," Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch said. "Illinois’ dedicated share of the funding remains, and it includes opportunities for projects across the state to gain additional funding through competitive grants.

"In addition, the five-year duration of the program provides some much-needed certainty for businesses to invest in their operations, whether it’s expanding existing locations, purchasing new equipment or taking advantage of improvements in our transportation system,” Maisch added.

The next step for the Illinois chamber is to meet with state lawmakers to be sure the state gets a share of the grants that will be made available through the FAST Act.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) were part of the conference committee on the measure.

“This is a good bipartisan bill that reauthorizes our nation's transportation programs and gives state and local agencies certainty in planning for the next five years,” Durbin said.

LaHood said he pleased with the length of time covered by the legislation.

“After years of short-term legislative patches, I was pleased to see the long-term FAST Act pass swiftly through the House," LaHood said.

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