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County board members visit Capitol Hill to advocate for local concerns

Rex Robinson | 4/11/2014, 7:01 a.m.
Will County Board members this week flew-in to Washington, D.C. to advance its legislative agenda with the county's congressional delegation. ...
Will County board members this week were in Washington D.C. to meet with congressional leaders and others to discuss a variety of issues including big ticket items like plans for the Illiana Expressway.

Will County Board members this week flew-in to Washington, D.C. to advance its legislative agenda with the county's congressional delegation. The meetings came during National County Government Month and in the midst of federal budget negotiations.

“We were very pleased to meet personally with many of our congressional representatives to stress our needs and advocate for the necessary funding and legislation to improve our infrastructure, create jobs, and move Will County forward,” said Speaker Herbert Brooks, Jr (D-Joliet). “We look forward to working with them to do so and continue to provide essential services to our residents.”

Brooks was joined by Democratic Caucus Chair Diane Zigrossi (D-Crest Hill), Democratic Caucus Whip Bob Howard (D-Beecher), and Republican Caucus Whip Chuck Maher (R-Naperville) as well as board members Don Gould (R-Shorewood), Suzanne Hart (R-Naperville), and Don Moran (D-Romeoville).

Moran told The Times Weekly that after speaking with legislators and officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation he was "encouraged" that funding will eventually come through at the federal level for the major transportation projects the county had on its radar screen.

In addition to meeting with Will County's congressional delegation, board members met with representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Every year the board establishes legislative priorities, and we work with our elected officials in Washington to find ways to advance those items,” Zigrossi said. “We greatly appreciate them taking the time to hear our thoughts and concerns on how to fulfill the county's mission to offer vital services and programs to a growing population.”

The board's federal legislative agenda's regional priorities include addressing landfill restrictions, constructing the Illiana Expressway, decreasing traffic congestion by designing and building a high level bridge connecting I-80 from the Houbolt Road interchange directly to intermodal facilities, growing agricultural exports, improving workforce programs, maintaining the treatment of municipal bonds as tax exempt, supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act, and continuing to develop the South Suburban Airport.

“Will County is the crossroads of America and greatly contributes to growing the nation's economy,” said Howard, chair of the board's legislative committee. “Together we will work with our leaders on Capitol Hill to make sure this continues to be a vibrant place to reside, grow businesses, and train the workforce of tomorrow.”