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Gov. JB Pritzker steps off a bus Friday afternoon with a group of dignitaries who toured the CSX facility in Bedford Park. (Photos By Jeff Vorva)

Gov. JB Pritzker steps off a bus Friday afternoon with a group of dignitaries who toured the CSX facility in Bedford Park. (Photos By Jeff Vorva)

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Buttigieg touts Biden infrastructure plan in visit to Bedford Park

By Jeff Vorva

When it comes to President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I am going to fight [it] every step of the way,” in April.

In May, the senator said, “I think I can pretty safely say none of my Republican colleagues are going to support a $4.1 trillion infrastructure package, only part of which is for infrastructure.”

On Friday, at the grounds of the CSX Intermodal Yard in Bedford Park, a huge group of local, state and federal officials that included Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker were ready to have the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and American Jobs Plan passed.

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-3rd), who helped bring this group together at the site of the third largest terminal in the nation by volume, has said in the past that bridges and roads are not Democratic nor Republican.

On Friday, she was asked about McConnell’s opposition, and she answered with optimism.

“I think we’re unified, and everybody is ready to move for this,” she said. “We have all of our priorities…and I think we can get this done.”

PETER BUTTIGIEG scaled

Secretary of Transportation Peter Buttigieg said officials are “putting money where their mouth is” by supporting infrastructure legislation.

Buttigieg is ready for it to happen.

“We have leaders who step up and literally put money where their mouth is to make sure there are investments in the future of infrastructure,” he said. “Illinois has done it. Local communities have done it. Now Washington needs to do it. That’s exactly what we have an opportunity to do. It’s right in front of us now.”

How this all plays out and the final price tag remains to be seen, but the big shots who showed up in Bedford Park insist this will be good for everyone in the nation.

Pritzker is happy about what it could mean for Illinois.

“There are projects people have been dreaming about and desiring and may not have started until 2028 or 2030 that we might be able to move forward as a result of this massive new jobs plan,” he said. “Not to put the cart before the horse but I’m absolutely excited about it.”

The governor was in a boastful mood when it came to Illinois being ahead of the curve on this. He bragged that CNBC recognized Illinois as the No. 1 state in the nation for infrastructure.

“When Secretary Buttigieg and President Biden pass the American Jobs Plan in Washington, D.C., we’re going to be able to accelerate all of what we had plans for and much, much more…our airports, our roads, our bridges, our schools,” Pritzker said.

CSX scaled

The CSX facility in Bedford Park is one of the busiest in the country.

Before they toured the CSX facility via a bus and smiled and spoke to the reporters and cameras, officials on various levels met with CSX, Amtrak and state and local departments of transportation to get an update on the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program.

CREATE is a partnership between U.S. Department of Transportation, the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation’s largest freight railroads.

Plans are for $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak’s creation.

Also included is a $16 billion investment in ports and waterways and also to support multimodal freight projects, plus $109 billion for roads, bridges and major projects to support large multimodal projects such as CREATE.

“It is so important for the state of Illinois because we’re the crossroads of America,” Pritzker said. “This is not only rail transportation carrying passengers come through every single day – more than any other state – but also cargo.”

MARIE NEWMAN scaled

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman is confident President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans will pass.

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