Congressman Bobby Rush’s ‘bridge to our future’ is a bridge to nowhere

Politicians should jump off this bridge, a proposed transportation logistics hub in Joliet. It could lead to nothing but unfulfilled promises.

The Sun-Times recently published an op-ed from U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush claiming Illinois is one “bridge” away from 10,000 permanent, living wage jobs.

If we believe all the hype in his letter and similar campaigns, this “bridge to our future” — a logistics hub in Joliet — will bring much-needed jobs to residents and increased tax revenues for the state. U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Rush all seem devoted to guiding people across this “bridge.”

I suggest these politicians jump off this bridge before they lead Illinois to yet another undesirable destination of unfulfilled promises.

While some of these projected jobs will go to truck drivers and organized labor, the majority will go to warehouse workers, a job that rarely pays a living wage. In fact, a December 2020 survey of existing related jobs in the same geographic area found that “56% (of respondents) made less than $15 an hour, 49% had no health insurance and another 20% rely on public programs for health insurance.”

Are these the kind of jobs that will close the inequality gap?

Saying this project is in Rep. Rush’s district is like saying most of Lake Michigan’s shoreline is in Chicago. Seventy percent of the constituents in Illinois’ 1st Congressional District reside in Chicago. Would they agree we are closing the inequality gap with jobs offering less than $15 an hour located nearly 60 miles from their homes?

I agree with Rep. Rush that Illinois needs a strong, sustained tax base through meaningful investments. This project is not one of those investments. Many area municipalities, politicians, veterans, environmental groups and grassroots efforts have consistently exposed weaknesses in this “bridge to our future,” resulting in repeatedly and successfully turning the developer away.

There are better jobs and higher goals that demand this level of attention.

Gov. Pritzker, I support your intent to keep control within local municipalities where it belongs. Rep. Rush, this campaign for a “bridge to our future” is really a bridge to nowhere.

Kevin Grundhofer, Elwood

Originally published in Letters to the Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times

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