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Highway Trust Fund At Risk, Threatens Illinois Jobs

flickr user Doug Kerr "Interstate 72-Illinois" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At the height of the summer construction season, the national Highway Trust Fund is at risk of going belly-up by next month.

The fund helps pay for road work and bridge repairs all across the nation. Among projects in at jeopardy is work currently being done on an Interstate-72 overpass just outside of Springfield.

Credit flickr user Doug Kerr "Interstate 72-Illinois" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mike Zahn, a leader with the International Union of Operating Engineers' State Council, spoke near that site on Monday.  He says these projects mean jobs.

"1.2 million families get fed every day by the trust fund. If the trust funds goes bankrupt like it's predicted to do, that would put these people on the unemployment line."

Zahn says that would send the state economy in a downward spiral. He says paying for infrastructure is a fundamental duty of government.

Zahn made his remarks at a press conference with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, who says Congress needs to shore up the federal highway fund.

Durbin says the fund could be stabilized by closing what he referred to as "tax loopholes."

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