Manzullo, McHenry County Officials to Discuss Western Bypass Money Fight

McHenry County Blog received this press release from United States Congressman Don Manzullo.

It says that a meeting and press conference will be held Monday with area officials about Governor Rod Blagojevich’s Department of Transportation’s shelving of the Western Bypass of the quite crowded intersection of Routes 62 and 31 even though Manzullo was instrumental in obtaining $19 million to help construct it from the federal budget.

Area mayors and village presidents have been invited, including prospective 2008 Democratic Party congressional candidate Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud.

Here’s the release:

Manzullo, McHenry County Officials to Discuss Funding for Algonquin’s Western Bypass Monday

[ALGONQUIN] Congressman Don Manzullo (R-Egan) will host a news conference Monday morning in Algonquin to discuss the funding status for the Western Bypass project that will divert traffic around the congested Routes 31 and 62 intersection in Algonquin. The news conference will begin at 11:45 a.m. at the old village hall at the southwest corner of Routes 31 and 62.

Manzullo will be joined at the news conference by Illinois State Senator Pamela Althoff, Illinois State Representative Mike Tryon, McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler, and many area mayors (those invited include Algonquin Village President John Schmitt, Lake in the Hills Village President Ed Plaza, Huntley Village President Chuck Sass, Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley, Cary Village President Steve Lamal, Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud, Marengo Mayor Don Lockhart, Harvard Mayor Jay Nolan, Lakewood Village Manager Julie Richardson, Fox River Grove Village President Katherine Laube).

In 1998, Manzullo secured $9 million in federal funding and designated the Western Bypass as a “High Priority Project” in the federal transportation bill.

The State of Illinois followed his lead and added the Western Bypass to the state transportation plan in 1999. At that time, the state allocated $35 million in state funds (under the Illinois First program) to the project, bringing total funding to $44 million – which was enough to build the road at that time.

Over the last several years, the state has consistently scaled back its funding support for the Western Bypass, even though the federal government continued to make it a priority. In addition to the $9 million federal earmark in 1998, Congressman Manzullo and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) secured another $10 million for a northern extension of the project in 2005. Despite this significant federal commitment, the Illinois Department of Transportation eliminated the remaining state funding for the project in this year’s state road plan.

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