President unveils $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

President unveils $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan

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MARION -- The president's infrastructure plan could mean more money for projects in southern Illinois, but how will that plan take shape?

President Donald Trump told Congress during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night he wants a major investment.

"I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need," Mr. Trump said.

The president's announcement is welcomed news for Williamson County Highway Superintendent Greg Smothers.

"Our infrastructure is something that is in sore need of a boost in the arm, if you will, for funding," Smothers said.

Smothers said he has a long list of resurfacing projects, bridge work and general maintenance.

"There's plenty need for other work and it's a thing that never ends," Smothers said.

Williamson County isn't alone. A new report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association said Illinois has the fifth-highest number of bridges across the country in need of repairs.

"Illinois has a seriously, seriously disturbing number of structurally-deficient bridges throughout the state, including in southern Illinois," Mike Sturino, president of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association said. "They're incredibly important for the farming community to get their food to market."

But how will the $1.5 trillion plan work? The White House hasn't released any details but a document obtained by Axios Media said the President wants to shift the burden more to state and local governments.

That concerns Rep. Mike Bost (R-Illinois), who said he'll fight to make sure financially-struggling states like Illinois don't have to cough up more money.

"That's pretty hard to argue when other states are in good condition," Bost said. "It will be my job to argue it and I will gladly do that, but remember we only have 18 (congressmen) from the state of Illinois."

And Smothers said his department would love to do more road work but he's anxious about where the money will come from.

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