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Did You Know?

Only 11 percent of Chicagoland residents ride transit to work.

Hear that screeching noise?

That's the sound of the entire federal transportation program coming to a complete standstill, thanks to the political posturing of one lame-duck senator. Please note this post does not represent any endorsement of one particular party over another.

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Yes, last Thursday Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) decided to hold up not only the Highway Trust Fund extension (the transportation bill that funds nearly all federal roadway projects – it expired in 2009, but Congress hasn't gotten around to reauthorizing it yet), but federal unemployment benefits, too. In the middle of a recession. Seriously.

The fallout, according to the U.S. DOT:

  • 2,000 DOT employees furloughed;
  • all transportation projects on federal lands halted, due to the recall of federal inspectors;
  • federal drunk driving programs suspended;
  • stoppage of hundreds of millions in reimbursements to states for transportation projects;
  • COBRA and unemployment insurance benefits suspended for 400,000 people

Satisfaction from political payback to a party that wouldn't back your re-election bid: temporary and fleeting.

Cost to the country for holding hostage much needed aide and employment during a financial crisis: priceless.