Congressman Mike Bost gave a glimmer of hope to Franklin County officials yesterday afternoon.

Bost joined about two dozen Franklin County leaders at Benton's Franklin Hospital yesterday to get updates on local economic development and answer questions about federal funding.

Dave Cooper of the Benton/West City Economic Development Committee shared an informational presentation on the proposed expansion of the I-57 interchange at Exit 71.

EDC president John Huffman said the six-year project has been approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Among the expected benefits of the proposal would be an increased opportunity for commercial growth in Benton and West City, improved visitor access to Rend Lake, and improved access to Franklin Hospital Emergency. Huffman said each of the first two phases of the project will cost around $25 million.

"Can you find about $3 million to fund the studies and get us in the pipeline?" he asked Bost.

According to Bost, President Trump's infrastructure proposal "has got a lot of us excited." Bost serves on the transportation and infrastructure committee.

Bost had a few questions of his own.

"If federal dollars come through and require a state match, where are those dollars going to come from?" he asked. "My biggest fear is that there will be growth in the United States and not in Illinois."