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.

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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