Rush kelly

U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush (D-1st) and Robin Kelly (D-2nd)

U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush (D-1st) and Robin Kelly (D-2nd) voted last week alongside most House Democrats and 13 Republicans to pass the largest infrastructure package since Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration.

“As promised, President Biden and Illinois Democrats worked across the aisle to forge consensus and deliver results for Illinois families,” Kelly said in a statement in her capacity as state party chairwoman. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will create good-paying union jobs, grow our economy, and make much-needed improvements to critical infrastructure like Illinois’ roads and highways; bridges and transit; drinking water systems; and broadband.”

Said Rush in his statement, “Failing to invest in our infrastructure weakens our economy and harms minority and underserved communities, who often suffer most from disinvestment. A prime example of this is the outrageous fact that Chicago has the most lead pipes of any city in the country, and Illinois has the most of any state.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes long-overdue investments in clean water, will upgrade our crumbling roads and bridges, and will be transformational for our public transit system, which non-white households are nearly twice as likely to use to commute.”

His office noted that the package contains $15 billion for lead pipe replacement and $70 billion for public transit. Rush is chairman of the House Energy Subcommittee on Energy; his office also noted that the package contains $5 billion in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Kelly's statement noted that $149 million is available over the next five years for Illinois' electric vehicle network, and that the state will have the opportunity to apply for $2.5 billion in associated grant funding.

“With $9.8 billion for Illinois roads and highways, $230 million over five years for carbon reduction in our state, $1 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure and funding for public transit and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, it is clear that this bill delivers for Illinois and for the 1st District,” Rush said. “Just as important is the fact that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create good-paying jobs for millions of Americans and will be a strong foundation for continued economic growth as we ‘Build Back Better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

There is $21 billion invested in environmental remediation, which the White House says includes funds to clean up Superfund sites, such as the two in Bridgeport and the ones in Pilsen and Hegewisch.

The Associated Press notes that the lead pipe replacement money is part of $55 billion total on water and wastewater infrastructure. The package, to be paid for over five years, is paid for with $210 billion in unspent pandemic relief, $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid some states stopped and other smaller sources of money, according to the AP.

Illinois’ senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, said $17 billion total is coming to the state.

The package includes a modified version of Durbin's legislation to require the implementation of crash avoidance technologies in new vehicles like emergency braking systems and funds for the deployment of digital alert technology. It also includes a version of Duckworth's All Stations Accessibility Program to make transit stations more accessible — a $1.75 billion fund, The Washington Post reports.

Duckworth uses a wheelchair. While all CTA buses and "L" cars are accessible, 42 "L" stations are not. (All Metra trains are accessible. In Hyde Park, the 53rd and 55th-56th-57th Street stations are accessible; Kenwood's 47th Street, the 59th Street and Woodlawn's 63rd Street stations are not.)

Duckworth told The Post that the federal money could be used to install elevators for phone apps for people with vision, hearing or cognitive impairments — in other words, projects for people with all kinds of disabilities, not just physical impairments.

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