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Reps Lipinski, Dold: Don’t End Gas Tax Funding For Mass Transit

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, Rep. Robert Dold

U.S. Reps. Daniel Lipinski (left) and Robert Dold (Credit: Rep. Lipinski, Rep. Dold)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A pair of Illinois congressmen reached across the aisle to fight against a transportation funding bill they say would jeopardize funding for mass transit.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) both warned Illinois stands to lose $650 million in transit funding, and both say long-term transit projects are jeopardized by ending gas tax funding for mass transit.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

Dold said he understands financial sacrifice..but not this transportation bill as written.

“Illinois is a donor state. We’re sending more money to the federal government. We want to make sure that our infrastructure – transportation infrastructure – here remains strong,” Dold said.

Lipinski says something has to happen, but not that bill as drawn up now in the House Transportation Committee.

“Right now, the Republicans don’t have the votes to pass this bill, but we need to get a bill passed. The Senate has a bill they’re voting on this week. We need to pass a good bill in the House,” he said.

Dold says the transportation funding bill would reduce by $650 million the funds available for Illinois roads and bridges, and would jeopardize$ $450 million in public transit funding by unhooking it from the reliable stream of dollars from gas taxes.

Lipinski adds that the bill would pave the way for oil shale strip mining and oil drilling n the pristine Arctic wildlife refuge.

Lipinski said he and Dold are willing to negotiate on transportation funding levels, but will not accept the idea of ending gas tax funding for mass transit.