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Lipinski reaffirms local input for La Grange intersection

U. S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, of Western Springs talks with La Grange Village Manager Bob Pilipiszyn July 15 at a business breakfast in Countryside. | Jane Michaels~Sun-Times Media
U. S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, Western Springs addresses members of the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry July 15  in Countryside. | Jane Michaels~Sun-Times Media
U. S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, Western Springs addresses business and community leaders. | Jane Michaels~Sun-Times Media
U. S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, Western Springs talks with Cook County Circuit Court Judge Russell Hartigan. | Jane Michaels~Sun-Times Media

COUNTRYSIDE — U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski reassured residents he will support what they want to improve 47th Street and East Avenue in La Grange.

“Nothing has been preordained, and there’s no money to do a grade separation there,” the 3rd District Democrat from Western Springs told leaders Monday at a West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast.

A potential overpass to relieve congestion has become a hot-button issue with neighbors along both sides of 47th Street, who enlisted the backing of the La Grange Village Board to formally oppose a grade separation of 47th Street and the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has identified 47th Street and East Avenue as a priority intersection negatively impacted by the permanent closing of Joliet Road to the east and south.

Lipinski urged residents to continue offering IDOT input at the next community advisory group meeting in September to develop strategies for improving safety at the intersection.

Lipinski predicted immigration reform would be passed on a piecemeal basis in the House, even though the Senate has passed a comprehensive package. In the next three weeks, measures likely will be debated on strengthening border security, verifying legal status of workers and a Republican version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the Dream act, creating a path to citizenship for children brought to the U.S. illegally, he said.

Despite an impasse on major issues in Congress as a whole, Lipinski said the Illinois delegation meets regularly to work on smaller issues to benefit the state. He also meets with the bipartisan No Labels group of lawmakers to find common ground.

“I do think Congress needs to work together more across the aisle,” Western Springs Village Board member Alice Gallagher said afterward. “I would encourage more of our representatives to follow his lead.”

Valentino Sarli who owns Healthcare Solutions Team, based in Lombard, said Lipinski’s remarks were somewhat informative, though not encouraging. Sarli said he worries about the effects of the Affordable Care Act on businesses and the middle class.

Mary Ellen Penicook, president of the Park District of La Grange Board, said she found Lipinski’s candor refreshing.

“It’s not a positive message that things are really hopeful, but it’s an honest message,” Penicook said. “I appreciate that as a constituent.”

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