Schilling calls on Illinois to release funding for I-74 bridge

As Monday morning traffic moves along on the aging, obsolete Interstate 74 bridge, there’s a call to action for Illinois to pay its share to build a new bridge between Moline and Bettendorf.

“The folks in Springfield now know that we’re paying attention,” said Rep. Bobby Schilling, (R) Illinois. “We’re not just going to sit idly by.”

Illinois is hesitating to pay for the project. That’s sparking bipartisan, bistate attention. Reasons why local, state and federal officials are speaking out.

“This is safety. This is commerce,” said Il. Rep. Rich Morthland, (R) Cordova. “This is something that we need to do to move forward our communities, our state and our nation.”

Supporters say it’s time for Illinois to step up to the plate, come through with the funding and help to leverage more dollars for the new bridge.

Without Illinois support, it can impact millions more in Iowa and federal funding. Any construction delays make the $1.2 billion project even more expensive.

“We know the money’s there, but it’s in the process of being programmed up into the Chicago area,” Rep. Schilling said. “We want to halt that now. We want that money to come here.”

A longtime transportation priority for the Quad Cities, chamber leaders and local mayors will take that message to Springfield on Tuesday. Illinois money is important to attract more federal support.

“This project is shovel-ready,” said Moline Mayor Don Welvaert. “It’s ready to go. We can compete with any project across this country. Now is the time for the I-74 bridge to be considered.”

With construction slated to begin in 2016, time is money with this project.