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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008 10:27 am

Plane talk

$100 million for Scott

In the days since the first debate in which Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., discussed foreign policy, the economy, taxes, and earmarks, Illinois' senior senator, Dick Durbin, has announced millions of dollars in federal funding for state projects.

Durbin, the assistant majority leader in the Senate, secured $257 million from the departments of Homeland Security and Defense, including $100 million to Scott Air Force Base, near Belleville.

The amount includes funds for one Boeing aircraft, which is designed for executive travel, including transport of foreign dignitaries and cabinet members, and is equipped with sophisticated communications systems, says Boeing spokesman Doug Cantwell.

The aircraft can also perform medical evacuations and humanitarian missions. According to a Durbin statement, the Air Force requested the plane "to meet airlift requirements and support national policy." Durbin also secured $63 million for a barracks facility at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago, a $16 million Urbana Armory readiness center, and $5 million in roof repairs at a Rock Island armor manufacturing plant.

The appropriations bill passed by a 78-12 margin. McCain, Obama, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Bidenof Delaware were not present for the vote.

Contact R.L. Nave@illinoistimes.com

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