Suburban projects on the list as Illinois lawmakers embrace return of earmarks

  • U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky has requested $4.5 million in federal cash to help fund improvements where Rand Road, Kensington Road and Route 83 meet in Mount Prospect.

    U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky has requested $4.5 million in federal cash to help fund improvements where Rand Road, Kensington Road and Route 83 meet in Mount Prospect. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein officials plan to seasonally close a small section of Park Street east of Route 45 to vehicles so restaurants can serve patrons on the street, as seen in this concept art. U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider has requested $600,000 in federal funding for the project.

    Mundelein officials plan to seasonally close a small section of Park Street east of Route 45 to vehicles so restaurants can serve patrons on the street, as seen in this concept art. U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider has requested $600,000 in federal funding for the project. Courtesy of Mundelein

  • U.S. Rep. Sean Casten has requested $1.5 million in federal funding for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

    U.S. Rep. Sean Casten has requested $1.5 million in federal funding for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Rick West | Staff Photographer, 2020

 
 
Updated 5/17/2021 11:12 AM

Congressional representatives serving northeastern Illinois have requested hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cash for community and transportation projects as part of the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year.

It's the first time in more than a decade that representatives have been able to solicit funds for specific projects, a procedure commonly called earmarking. Such requests were restricted after Republicans gained control of the House in 2011.

 

Now that Democrats have majority control, earmarks have returned. But it's not a partisan technique; plenty of Republicans are making spending requests, too.

Of the eight area representatives whose requests were analyzed by the Daily Herald, Republican Adam Kinzinger of Channahon had the greatest total, with nearly $82 million in solicited funds.

To prevent misuse, lawmakers must detail requests on their official websites -- although some representatives have made their lists easier to find than others.

Links to each lawmaker's funding requests for community projects can be found at appropriations.house.gov/transparency. A list of the transportation projects submitted by each lawmaker can be found at transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/issue/member-designated-projects.

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With thousands of requests totaling billions of dollars made, funding isn't guaranteed. But lawmakers like Deerfield Democrat Brad Schneider are hopeful projects they've submitted will get some dough.

"Funding any one of these projects would be a great lift for all of the 10th District and reason to celebrate," Schneider said.

Brad Schneider

Schneider is seeking $65.1 million in federal funds for 10 community projects and five transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

• $26.3 million for Lake County to create a countywide 911 center in Libertyville.

• $600,000 for Mundelein to support a planned seasonal closure of Park Street, which would allow outdoor dining and entertainment there.

• $1.1 million for Prospect Heights to build a sidewalk on a stretch of Wolf Road.

Jan Schakowsky

In the neighboring 9th District, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, requested $22.2 million for 10 community projects and 10 transportation or infrastructure projects. Her requests include:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• $4.5 million to improve the closely spaced intersections of Rand Road, Kensington Road and Route 83 in Mount Prospect.

• $640,000 for a flood-prevention project in Arlington Heights.

• $258,000 for Glenbrook High School District 225 to establish a health clinic.

"I am proud to be able to make these targeted requests after hearing from so many worthy and necessary entities that applied," Schakowsky said in a news release. "I only wish we were able to fund more of them."

Raja Krishnamoorthi

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg Democrat serving the 8th District, requested $26.4 million for 10 community projects and 13 transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

• $250,000 to help the Rolling Meadows-based Wings Program create a family resource center for victims of domestic violence.

• $200,000 to boost pedestrian safety at the intersection of National Parkway and Higgins Road in Schaumburg.

Sean Casten

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat serving the 6th District, requested a $31.9 million for 10 community projects and eight transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

• $1.5 million for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle to fund its participation in the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, which helps communities plant and grow trees.

• $6.6 million for Naperville-based 360 Youth Services' Youth Affordable Housing Resource Center, which will offer crisis intervention, job training and other services.

• $500,000 for Barrington's plan to create a safer pedestrian crossing where Main Street meets the Canadian National Railroad.

"Projects like these will have a lasting and important impact on our community, and I'm proud to advocate for them," Casten said.

Bill Foster

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat serving the 11th District, requested $43.8 million for 10 community projects and nine transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

• $5 million for a Metra pilot program involving locomotives that produce no emissions.

• $2 million for Hesed House in Aurora to convert warehouse space into a homeless shelter.

• $648,560 for DuPage County to improve four intersections along 75th Street in the Naperville area.

Mike Quigley

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat whose 5th District includes parts of suburban Cook and DuPage counties, requested $23.3 million for 10 community projects and five transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

• $2 million for an underground stormwater detention system in Elmhurst that will relieve flooding and improve water quality.

• $1 million to help the Center on Halsted in Chicago acquire and renovate transitional housing for LGBTQ+ youth and allies who are experiencing homelessness, violence and trauma.

Lauren Underwood

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Naperville Democrat serving the 14th District, requested $32.9 million for 10 community projects and nine transportation or infrastructure projects. Her requests include:

• $822,690 to expand McHenry County College's dual credit and dual degree program with the county's public high schools.

• $1.2 million to create a traffic roundabout at Route 20 and Reinking Road in Elgin.

• $600,000 to reconstruct a stretch of Main Street in Batavia.

Adam Kinzinger

In the 16th District, Adam Kinzinger requested $81.8 million for 10 community projects and 12 transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

• $660,000 for a Northern Illinois University project that'll team local farmers with university scientists to develop tools to cope with severe weather's effects on agriculture.

• $2 million to help build a rural health professions building at the UIC Health Sciences Campus in Rockford.

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