The State of Illinois is at risk of losing road and infrastructure construction due to the budget impasse which would mean the loss of thousands of jobs and could cost taxpayers millions.
The threat to Illinois’ roads is next on the list if funds aren’t seen by the end of the month.
“Uncertainty sets everybody’s future plans aside. Also, it’s an economic engine,” says Todd Maisch, CEO of Illinois’ Chamber of Commerce is asking for a stop-gap funding bill to help keep thousands of jobs and roads safe for motorists.
“Events move very, very quickly and, once it reached June 1,” Maisch continues. “We realized a stop-gap bill was the best way to go; not a great way to go, but the best way to go.”
Maisch argues transportation funding needs more attention from lawmakers.
“Education gets a lot of attention by legislators. The transportation needs to be taken care of right besides education in a stop-gap funding bill,” he says.
He says a spending plan needs to be passed before July 1. That’s because the state could lose more than 25,000 middle-class jobs and an entire construction season.
“The roads are already raggedy now and citizens across the state are going to realize that their road system is crumbling if we lose an entire construction season,” adds Maisch.
The risk of losing road construction projects could cost taxpayers an additional $3 million per day to keep motorists safe around construction zones.
“Highway work, it’s just a huge part of the industry and, for those jobs to shut down and those projects to shut down, you can have effects throughout the state of Illinois,” Maisch continues.
Even if a budget is resolved, the Department of Transportation says, by Fiscal Year 2022, a continuous drop in funding will result in unacceptable conditions for roads and bridges.
A program allowing truck drivers to drive throughout the U.S. could also be at risk. Without funds, drivers would have to purchase fuel permits, making it difficult for companies to continue operating in Illinois.