This week, Illinois legislators negotiated a bipartisan budget deal that Governor Rauner has indicated he will sign. This is the first time since 2015 that Illinois will have a budget in place at the start of its fiscal year.
The new budget includes several pieces of good news for Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) infrastructure funding and capital projects:
- $8.8 billion in IDOT reappropriations for project put on hold during the budget impasse
- $2.9 billion in IDOT “pay-as-you-go” funding, including $2.2 billion for IDOT’s 2019 road program and $700 million for rail and other transportation
- $400 million in deferred maintenance funding for emergency needs
- $172 million to build the Obama Presidential Library and a new Metra station at 59th Street in Chicago
- $50 million for high-speed rail projects and maintenance
Having a budget in place is a big step on the path back to normalcy in Illinois, following three years of budget crises. A forward-looking capital plan was one of the many hostages that Governor Rauner took as he refused to negotiate without the approval of devastating cuts being taken against working families. Now that a budget has been approved, Illinois leaders must look to the future.
For the past three-and-a-half years, IDOT lettings have been scarce or non-existent throughout Illinois, and the result is a state infrastructure that has decayed beyond acceptable limits. Band-aids won’t get the job done any longer. Real investment is needed, and the time is now.
Local 150 will continue to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on a path forward for the safety and vitality of our infrastructure, which creates good paying jobs, supports economic growth, and protects the safety of families who rely on it every day.