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Foster pushes for more federal funding for Illinois roads

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Wednesday, January 23, 2019  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Road construction, Construction (91a)
Illinois Congressman Bill Foster said he plans to renew his push to get the federal government to put more money into state roads because Illinois and other high-population states contribute more revenue.  

With talk of massive infrastructure spending plans at both the state and federal level, Naperville Democrat Bill Foster said Illinois is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to how much the state pays into the federal government compared to what it gets in government spending.

“We lose between $20 and $40 billion every year because we pay a lot more taxes than we get back in federal spending,” he said

Reports on this topic often show Illinois near the bottom of states in terms of getting what its taxpaying residents send. The payer-state debate is often brought up when a natural disaster causes damage in two states of different populations. Flooding in Missouri may receive federal disaster funding where similar damage in Illinois wouldn’t. Foster has introduced bills that would change that formula, but they’ve been blocked in the U.S. Senate, where less populous states have equal representation. He says that a democratic shift in Congress may provide an opening to negotiate on the funding formula.

“I’m hoping that with stronger Democratic representation in the new Congress, specifically by the states that are getting rooked like Illinois, that we’d have an opportunity to fix that,” he said.

Skeptics of Foster’s premise say Illinois gets less as a ratio of spending not only because there are more residents but because Illinoisans earn more on average, thus pay more taxes. They also note that other states have more federal land, more military installations, and more federally-maintained interstate miles, all of which require a specific amount of funding to operate and maintain irrespective of the population of the state.