March 03, 2017

Bipartisan Duckworth Bill Would Protect Transportation & Infrastructure Jobs in Illinois, Across America


WASHINGTON, DC - This week, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation to protect Illinois jobs by making sure the state's Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) can effectively plan and implement local transportation and infrastructure projects without undue interference from Washington. Duckworth's new legislation cuts red tape by rolling back a misguided U.S. Department of Transportation rule that wouldcreate a massive and complex bureaucratic planning process by requiring the governors of Wisconsin and Indiana to approve transportation projects in the Chicagoland area. This rule threatens to slow project delivery and impede job creation by needlessly delaying infrastructure improvements.

"What's good for Illinois is good for the nation, especially when it comes to modernizing and making our transportation infrastructure more efficient," said Senator Duckworth. "We cannot afford to disrupt or delay important modernization and efficiency processes that are already facilitating innovative initiatives, such as the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program. My bipartisan legislation will help cut red tape and prevent delays that hurt not only our state's economy, but our entire nation's economy as well."

Senator Duckworth's new bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Todd Young (R-IN). Earlier this year, Duckworth highlighted this issue while questioning U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Video of Duckworth speaking with Secretary Chao is available here.

"As the current rule stands, I am concerned that it would fundamentally change the long-established cooperative working relationships between MPOs in our states and set back efforts to successfully coordinate transportation planning and investments in our region," said Senator Durbin. "I'm proud to work with Senator Duckworth on this bill that supports Illinois MPOs and the important work they do to ensure proper coordination of the comprehensive planning development, funding and selection of transportation projects in Illinois and across the country."

"The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Coordination Rule is a prime example of a regulation in search of a problem," said Senator Young. "Hoosier MPOs have a reputation of working very well with sister organizations. This is especially true in Northwest Indiana where Hoosier MPOs coordinate with sister organizations across state lines. The MPO rule will prevent the local organizations that already have a strong working relationship from efficiently representing their local communities. I look forward to working with Senator Duckworth to ensure that this misguided rule is overturned."

"Metropolitan planning organizations across the state of West Virginia have already been successful coordinating amongst themselves and with counterparts across state lines. This legislation would protect their work by rolling back a harmful rule that would undermine and reduce the voice of MPOs who conduct the transportation planning best suited to their communities, especially in rural areas," said Senator Capito.

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) endorsed Senator Duckworth's bipartisan legislation.