A transportation group warned that drivers in Illinois would start seeing shuttered road construction zones after July 1 if Springfield doesn’t act.

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Todd Maisch, also the co-chair of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, said if lawmakers don’t release the $1.8 billion in federal and state funding needed to pay for road and infrastructure projects, current construction sites could be shuttered.

“All the work you see that’s going on out on the highways right now,” Maisch said. “You’ve got to find a way to mothball it.”

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Bill Frey, executive director of Associated General Contractors of Illinois, said if the General Assembly doesn’t come up with a way to fund the state Department of Transportation, payments will stop to companies already on the job.

“There’s no way to make payments after July 1,” said Frey, a former IDOT employee. “Whether that happens or not or they ask our contractors to carry that burden into July and maybe even Aug.1, we’ll have to wait and see.”

He added that the tax revenue is already collected in the form of motor-fuel taxes and federal money. But to use that money, the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner need to give the permission to write the checks. 
Michael Kleinik, director of the Chicago Laborers District Council, said the cost in jobs and safety measures would be staggering.

“This would result in the immediate loss of 25,000 middle-class jobs and cost the taxpayers $3 million per day to keep motorists safe around the construction sites,” Kleinik said.

Illinois does not have a full budget for the current fiscal year, but Rauner signed the transportation budget to allow road work to continue.


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