A former U.S. Secretary of Transportation from Peoria is applauding the Illinois General Assembly for passing its first capital bill in 10 years.
The bill included this week’s doubling of the state gas tax. Ray LaHood served as the Secretary of Transportation in the Obama administration and as a Republican representative in Congress. He said the bill was “long overdue.”
"It's a big deal, and they put the money behind it also. Raising the gas tax was very, very important. It hasn't been raised in a very long time, and indexing it to the cost of living means they don't have to come back and revisit it every year," LaHood said.
He said Illinois’ neighboring states like Iowa and Wisconsin have been more successful in attracting businesses, partly due to better investment in their infrastructure.
"The first thing that a business looks at when they look at an area is the infrastructure there. Are the roads in good repair? Is there good sewer and water? Are there good facilities? And this capital bill really addresses us catching up," he said.
LaHood said he hopes the bipartisan effort on this bill will lead to more consistent infrastructure funding in the state.
LaHood used to represent Illinois’ 18th Congressional District, now held by his son Darin LaHood.