FILE - Darin LaHood

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Illinois

(The Center Square) – Illinois taxpayers can expect billions in federal tax dollars coming back to the state for various infrastructure projects over several years from the $1.2 trillion bill approved by the U.S. Senate this week. A Congressman from Illinois says it's too much spending.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, said the measure is historic.

“Americans have asked us to fix crumbling roads and bridges, expand public transit and rail, and provide clean drinking water in their communities for decades. That moment has finally arrived in the Senate,” Durbin said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill represents the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century.”

The White House says Illinois is in line for $9.8 billion in highway programs and $1.4 billion for bridges. There’d be $4 billion for public transit and $149 million years for electric vehicle charging stations. About $100 million would be set aside for broadband installation.

The measure is now up to the Democratic-controlled U.S. House, where it is expected to pass. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Illinois, said he’ll be reviewing the bill, but worries it could be too costly for taxpayers.

“Some of it is paid for with leftover COVID money, that’s a good thing, but there’s also a huge cost, about $260 billion over ten years, that is deficit spending,” LaHood told WMAY. “That frankly concerns me.”

Durbin said Democrats want to go further than infrastructure spending with a $3.5 trillion plan for things like more unemployment benefits, child care, housing and green energy programs.

“If we don’t embark on an ambitious plan to deal with climate change and to move this economy in the right direction for working families in this country, then frankly we’re ready and prepared, some are, to accept a second place finish for the United States of America,” Durbin said.

LaHood said taxpayers can’t afford more spending.

“These are all things we should have a debate about, individually and separately, but to lump them with a $3.5 trillion bill that’s really a Christmas list of Democrat and progressive wish-list items, I think is the wrong approach,” LaHood said.

The Congressional Budget Office says the current federal budget has deficit of $3 trillion.

“With all of the money we’ve spent on COVID, we’re almost $29 trillion in debt,” LaHood said. “So this is significant deficit spending at a time when our national debt is skyrocketing.”

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.