U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said the biggest issue he is hearing out of McLean County is infrastructure.
Davis is the lead Republican on the highways and transit subcommittee in Congress. The representative from Illinois’ 13th District said he is pushing for passage of the federal highway bill.
“When you look at a construction project, about 80% of that construction project on our interstates that may back you up in traffic for a while, is paid for by your federal gas tax dollars,” Davis said. “We in Washington are now going to reauthorize that highway bill.”
Davis said he does not believe a federal gas tax increase to pay for infrastructure would be "politically possible." He was not specific in proposing ways to pay for improvements, saying Congress should decide what the best ideas are.
Davis was in Bloomington Tuesday with fellow Republican Central Illinois Rep. Darin LaHood for the McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s State of Congress event.
LaHood also listed the highway bill as one of his main areas of focus as session picks up again next month.
“That is something we have not delivered on,” LaHood said. “I continue to be optimistic that we can get a federal infrastructure bill done to upgrade our rail system, our highways, our airports. It’s vitally important to the country.”
LaHood said trade is a second issue vital to the region, specifically the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.
“I look at jobs in central and west central Illinois, many of them are tied to trade whether it’s agriculture, whether it’s financial services, whether it’s manufacturing,” LaHood said. “Forty percent of the products we grow, produce, or manufacture in Illinois go to Canada or Mexico.”
LaHood said, politics aside, the trade bill is good for jobs and long-term economic viability.
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