September 19, 2013

Costello lecture to focus on nation’s infrastructure

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Former U.S. Rep. Jerry F. Costello will share his thoughts on the infrastructure challenges facing the state and country when he delivers a luncheon presentation next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Costello will present “Our Nation’s Infrastructure: Nearing Crisis?” on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the university’s Transportation Education Center at Southern Illinois Airport.  The event is part of the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series.

The luncheon and lecture are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Advance registration by Monday, Sept. 23, is appreciated but not required. To register, contact Vanessa Sneed with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4004 or by email at  Open seating will also be available for those who wish to only listen to the speech and not be included in the meal.

Institute Director David Yepsen notes that infrastructure issues were one of Costello’s primary interests throughout his political career and is an “incredibly important subject.”

“It does not receive a lot of attention but it’s a serious issue and a serious subject,” he said.  “We’ve asked him to come to the Transportation Education Center, which is devoted to transportation issues, and talk about infrastructure policies and what we can do about them.”

The Belleville Democrat retired Jan. 2 after more than 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In Congress, Costello attained ranking as senior Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and chaired the aviation subcommittee.  He was also the second-ranking Democrat on the House’s Science, Space and Technology Committee.

A 1973 graduate of Maryville University, Costello is president and CEO of The Jerry Costello Group, which provides services and advocates for government agencies, trade associations and businesses.

In March, Costello announced he is donating materials from his more than two decades in Congress to the Special Collections Research Center at Morris Library.

The Morton-Kenney lecture series brings speakers to campus in the spring and fall of each year.  Jerome Mileur, originally from Murphysboro, is a professor emeritus in political science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, retiring in 2004 after a 37-year teaching career there.  Mileur established the series in 1995 in honor of two of his political science professors -- Ward Morton and David Kenney -- who inspired him as a student.  Mileur earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1955, and a doctorate in government in 1971, both from SIU Carbondale.

For more information on this or any other institute program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit