Suburban projects on the list as Illinois lawmakers embrace return of earmarks
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.
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.
• $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.
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."
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.
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:
• $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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congressional funding requestsHere are U.S. representatives from northeastern Illinois, with their total sums requested and the number of requests:
• Mike Quigley, 5th District: $23.3 million (15)
• Sean Casten, 6th District: $31.9 million (18)
• Raja Krishnamoorthi, 8th District: $26.4 million (23)
• Jan Schakowsky, 9th District: $22.2 million (20)
• Brad Schneider, 10th District: $65.1 million (15)
• Bill Foster, 11th District: $43.8 million (19)
• Lauren Underwood, 14th District: $32.9 million (19)
• Adam Kinzinger, 16th District: $81.8 million (22)
Sources: Congressional websites and news releases, Daily Herald interviews