Although state officials are not convinced that “the Prairie Parkway connector is the best way to ease traffic in the growing region outside Chicago” when Bush signed the massive Highway Bill today, Dennis Hastert’s “district made out particularly well.”
Illinois was second only to California in the amount of money earmarked for special projects — $1.3 billion — in the transportation bill, according to an analysis by the budget watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Locals are concerned that the Prairie Parkway connector “will promote urban sprawl, hurt the environment and swallow up fertile farmland.”
Members of a local group opposed to the plan argue it will encourage rapid and uncontrolled growth throughout the area and hurt the environment. A handful of them showed up outside the Caterpillar plant Wednesday to protest.
“It will destroy 2,000 or more acres of prime farmland. It will threaten two of the highest-quality streams in Illinois. And it will ignite sprawl throughout the rural area,” said Jan Strasma, chairman of Citizens Against the Sprawlway.
UPDATE: Another massive boon for Republicans from the Highway Bill is “A bridge to nowhere“, in the Alaska district of Rep. Don Young.
As chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Alaska’s lone congressional representative for 32 years, the elder statesman wrangled $941 million for Alaska in the bill, making Alaska, the nation’s third least populated state, the fourth-biggest recipient of transportation funds.