When Illinois voters go to the polls in November, they will have an unusual opportunity to vote for a single proposal that will create jobs and opportunities for today and tomorrow.
The first question on the ballot will be the “Safe Roads” amendment to the Illinois Constitution, and while the amendment will help make our roads safer, it will also do much more. An investment in transportation infrastructure translates into economic growth and jobs. For every $1 billion invested in transportation, 13,000 jobs are created and sustained.
The amendment states that money the state collects for transportation projects should actually be used for transportation. It has won bipartisan support in the state legislature.
I’m proud that the members of my own union, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers, is supporting this plan. It has also been endorsed by the Illinois AFL-CIO and many business and civic organizations.
For too long, political leaders in Illinois have taken dollars collected for transportation and diverted them to other purposes. Our transportation infrastructure is crumbling and falling further behind. A significant percentage of Illinois roads and 4,200 of Illinois bridges are in poor condition, yet over the past 13 years $6.8 billion in dollars promised for transportation projects have been taken from state coffers and used for other purposes. This cannot continue.
The first vote you take on Nov. 8 is one that you can be proud of. Support the Safe Roads amendment.
David Beard, president, Ironworkers District Council