Improving America’s Infrastructure
Our nation is falling behind in maintaining and modernizing our transportation network, which hurts our economy and our ability to compete in the world. The problem is even worse in Illinois, where the budget deadlock in Springfield is preventing investment in capital projects that could strengthen our state’s economy and create thousands of jobs.
This is why Raja is proposing to create a federal infrastructure bank. Such a bank could provide low-interest loans to states and cities to help finance crucial projects like roads and transit system. It’s a way around the politics that is paralyzing important local and national goals.
Raja would finance the infrastructure bank by ending the oil depletion allowance – a tax break for the oil industry that would save the Treasury more than $10 billion over the next ten years. That amount could generate close to $100 billion in capital for infrastructure projects around the country. Once capitalized, the bank would be self-perpetuating as its loans are repaid.
Raja pointed to two transportation projects benefiting Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs that would be good candidates for such loans, including the Metra Star line and the Elgin-O’Hare expressway. The Metra Star line would connect the suburbs outside of Chicago by rail. Earlier projections indicate its ridership would exceed any existing Metra line. The Elgin-O’Hare expressway would provide a long-sought western access to the airport. The long-delayed project, which began two years ago, may face an uncertain funding future if state or federal funding is disrupted again due to politics, as happened this year.
Congress is tied up in knots and Springfield is at a complete impasse. A federal infrastructure bank could take the politics out of critical road and transit projects and enable us to start building the future our children deserve.