Hare announces $487,000 for Knoxville Road

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Mercer County Board chairman Maxine Henry introduces Congressman Phil Hare (D, Ill.) at the Mercer County Courthouse on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Hare visited Aledo to announce a $487,000 road project on Knoxville Road.

Phil Hare battled area traffic Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 coming in 30 minutes late for a press conference at the Mercer County Courthouse in Aledo. “We got held up because of road work,” he said, referring to how glad he was to see people on the roads working. “We’ve been able to secure $487,000 earmarked for the Knoxville Road,” he told the small group gathered outside the courthouse.

He said the word “earmark” gets a bad rap. This is just a way to get taxpayer money back to the people. The funds are part of fiscal 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Knoxville Road runs northeast from Mercer County to Rock Island County to Henry County. The road does not meet current construction and safety standards.

“Anyone who resides in Mercer, Rock Island or Henry counties have no doubt traveled on Knoxville Road and seen the disrepair,” Hare said. “These are federal dollars coming back to the community.”

Hare pointed to the project putting construction workers to work and boosting the economic development in the region. “Investing in infrastructure creates jobs and provides a 5 to 1 return on every dollar we spend,” he said.

He said he plans to continue to work to bring federal funding back to the 17th District for similar projects. “We’re hoping to get the federal highway bill reauthorized,” he said. “It’s been too long coming.”

Hare estimated the highway bill would put about six million people back to work.

Small Business Bill

Hare made reference to a bill currently in the Senate, which has already passed in the house called the Small Business Bill. “Eighty percent of all business is small business,” he said. The bill will make low interest loans available to small businesses (Under $1 million assets). The loans would be for hiring additional staff and enlarging businesses.

Another program currently being talked about on the hill is a Secure Energy Manufacturing (SEAMAC) resolution, that is estimated to put 110,000 people to work. “What we can’t do is say ‘No’ and just stop,” he said, making reference to the government’s attempts at stimulating the economy. “The first stimulus bill put $13 billion in spending on transportation.,” he said.

SEAMAC is designed to put teachers, first responders, firefighters and other safety related workers back to work. “You have to be able to help these smaller entities,” he said.

“I’m tired of our tax money going to businesses overseas,” he added.