Re-elect Dan Lipinski Congressman

Illinois Democrats Score a Win

04/28/2017

Chicago Tribune

A bill to roll back an Obama-era regulation on transportation planning is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk, letting lead sponsors Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Dan Lipinski of Western Springs take a victory lap.

The measure, which passed the Senate in March, cleared the House on Thursday on a 417-3 vote.

The two Illinoisans said the Department of Transportation rule, which took effect in January, threatened federally funded transportation projects in the Chicago area because so-called Metropolitan Planning Organizations in urban areas would have had to merge with counterparts — even across state lines — or develop a single, unified long-range plan.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is the regional planning group for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties and, according to Lipinski, it administers federal transportation funding based on a regional, long-term planning process.

In effect, the rule would have required governors and other leaders in Indiana and Wisconsin to approve transportation projects for northeastern Illinois, according to Lipinski, who said mayors, planning and transit agencies from across the country had expressed to him their opposition.

If, for example, the Indiana or Wisconsin governor did not want to prioritize funding for the modernization of Chicago’s Union Station, all he would have had to do is sit on his hands or refuse to approve the transportation improvement plan, a Duckworth aide said.

For Duckworth, House passage meant congressional approval of her first-ever Senate bill. “Red tape shouldn’t hurt our economy or stifle economic growth,” she said. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., co-sponsored the measure, as did Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who called the DOT rule “a prime example of a regulation in search of a problem.”


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