Federal highway fund short-term fix

By Kelsey Gibbs | kgibbs@wcia.com

Published 08/22 2014 07:34PM

Updated 08/25 2014 09:46AM

ILLINOIS -- A short-term plan to maintain road construction projects isn't sitting well with local unions. Congress approved money to keep construction going through next spring, but as WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains, workers fear their jobs are in jeopardy want more long-term assurance.

"Jobs and road funding didn't leave because we made sure that we addressed the issue this year."

Earlier this month, the president signed a bill to save funding for the nation's highways.

"I'm very confident next year that we can put together that long-term plan that we've been talking about."

But Mike Zahn, with the local operating engineer union, says this plan is not enough.

"The extension was nothing more than putting a band aid on a gaping wound."

Congress passed a short term fix to a big problem. The bill funds American roads through May of next year. Before the bill was signed, highway contractors feared for their jobs. Now they say they'll fear that yet again.

"And the way it is right now, we don't know come May of next year if there be anything at all."

That's why former Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, is urging Davis and other members of Congress to act now.

"We need to get back to a Congress that passes a six year bill, and funds it at the levels that we can really make a difference and put people to work."

Zahn agrees.

"Building roads is one of the fundamental responsibilities of our government and all that they're doing is shirking their responsibility."

LaHood also suggests an increase in the gas tax to help fund roads. The temporary spending plan will cost $11 billion over the next ten months.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.