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Prairie Parkway funds uncertain

Plano City Tresurer Janet Goehst (left) retired teachers Joan Jack Pool Yorkville listen Randy Hultgren during town hall meeting Plano

Plano City Tresurer Janet Goehst (left) and retired teachers Joan and Jack Pool of Yorkville listen to Randy Hultgren during a town hall meeting at the Plano City Hall on Monday, August 6, 2012. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 6, 2012 10:34PM

PLANO — Funding for the proposed Prairie Parkway could be all but gone.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, stopped short of saying that Monday evening at a town hall meeting in City Hall here.

But the congressman admitted it is difficult to say what the status is of funding for the highway, to be built mostly in Kendall County and some in Kane County to connect Interstates 80 and 88.

The Prairie Parkway was a pet project of Hultgren’s predecessor, Dennis Hastert, when he was speaker of the U.S. House and helped shepherd the 2003 Transportation Bill through Congress.

“We’re still trying to figure out where the funding is,” Hultgren said Monday in answer to a question from a constituent. “Is it really there? We haven’t gotten confirmation.”

The project received more than $200 million in funding under the federal transportation bill. Most of that has gone toward the engineering needed to protect the road’s corridor, which has been recorded.

There is a bit left for construction, but much more would be needed to build the entire project, considered to cost more than $1 billion.

Hultgren, who lists transportation as one of his own pet pursuits, said that wherever the money already allocated for the Prairie Parkway ends up, he will “fight to make sure” it is spent in Kendall County. Hultgren added he still believes the country needs a multi-year transportation bill to replace the 2003 bill, which expired in 2009.

Hultgren spoke before about 12 people Monday, most of whom agreed with him on key issues and came to say they supported his stances on such matters as how to deal with the deficit and trying to eliminate regulation on small businesses.

Several times, Hultgren said he supports clean air and clean water, but he said he dislikes the “adversarial” relationship that seems to exist between current regulators and business.

“It seems like they are out to find something,” he said. “The safest career path is for the person who writes up the most violations.”

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