Illinois road projects could halt due to budget impasse

Illinois road projects could halt due to budget impasse
(Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)
(Source: Giacomo Luca, KFVS)

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - Illinois road construction and maintenance projects could come to a grinding halt if legislators act quickly.

Governor Bruce Rauner urged state lawmakers to pass a fully stopgap budget Wednesday that would fund Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) projects through the summer.

"Improving our state's infrastructure is an investment in our future," Governor Rauner said. "These projects create jobs and help fuel the state's economy, and in the case of road construction and maintaining State's facilities, parks and historical sites, they're important to public safety."

As many as 800 projects totaling $2 billion could be forced on-hold, and thousands of workers and contractors could be laid off, IDOT Spokesman Guy Tridgell said.

IDOT District 9 covers the state's 16 southernmost counties. Dozens of projects could be halted totaling $127 million including state and local, according to an IDOT report of potential impacts.

In southern Illinois that could mean halting lane additions, interstate reconstruction, diamond interchange, and stopping future project that include highway resurfacing.

The legislation would fund summer road construction projects including bridge repair and local projects. IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said Illinois road projects are at risk of shutting down without a funding plan.

"Every corner of Illinois will be impacted, with much-needed improvements delayed indefinitely, tens of thousands of workers sent home and millions of unnecessary costs added," Blankenhorn said. "What the governor is proposing is a reasonable solution that will allow our programs to continue seamlessly."

The director of the state's Capital Development Board (CDB), Jodi Golden, is urging lawmakers to fund more than 200 other development projects that have been put on hold such as mental health facilities, veteran homes,  public university and colleges.

"Each day that goes by, this continues to impact more than 500 contractors, designers, and subcontractors;  thousands of construction workers and suppliers; thousands of schoolchildren and all the people that live, work and visit the State's facilities, parks and historical sites," Golden said.

If action is not taken soon, IDOT projects could begin to shutter as early as July 1.

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