US infrastructure bill sending billions of dollars to Illinois

A late night vote in Congress over the weekend will send at least $17 billion to Illinois for big, new construction projects.

Some of the cash is already earmarked to improve the safety of the Chicago area's polluted air and drinking water.

It is the biggest single batch of construction money from the feds since Dwight Eisenhower was president 65 years ago. Some of the $17 billion will be used to replace lead pipes dangerous to drinking water and to electrify transit vehicles that now emit diesel fumes that make some sick.

"There’s big money for our airports to be modernized. There are resources for fixing bridges that are structurally shaky that we have to get ahead of the curve and not have these worrisome, deficient bridges," said MarySue Barrett of the Metropolitan Planning Council.

There is much more, including broadband internet access and a transcontinental network of charging stations for electric vehicles. It is one of the few genuinely bipartisan big measures to win approval in Washington.

"I was delighted that the house finally found a way to pass the infrastructure bill last week," said Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.


"It’s going to be a tough fight and it ain't over yet as they say, as the old expression goes, but I feel good," said President Joe Biden.

The president's referring to his so-called "social infrastructure" proposal. That measure faces key showdown votes next week on Capitol Hill.