Unions Organize School Bus Tour To Call For Federal Highway Funding

CHICAGO (CBS) — Union laborers throughout the Midwest have joined the call for passage of a long-term highway bill in Congress; and they said it’s not just about jobs, it’s about safety.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports unionized laborers brought a school bus that had been crushed by a piece crumbling bridge through Chicago on Thursday.

They said a third of traffic fatalities across the state are due to poor road conditions.

“Statistics show that, throughout the country, there’s deaths, fatalities – vehicular fatalities – attributed to poor road conditions,” said Kevin Roach, business manager of Laborers’ Local 41 in Indiana.

WBBM 780’s Craig Dellimore

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The bus made its way to Munster, Indiana, on Friday. Roach said poor roads cost the state of Indiana $2 billion a year.

“We can’t get the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to act on a comprehensive bill. Everything that they’ve proposed so far is a patch,” he said. “Our position is, I think, is primarily they’re worried about where the funding mechanism comes from.”

The unions suggested raising the federal gas tax, which hasn’t gone up in a while, but such proposals have met with resistance on Capitol Hill.

“It hasn’t been adjusted in 12 years, I think,” he said. “As much as people are against taxes, we think that that’s a good way to fund this,” Roach said.

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