This week, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) released a study entitled Forecasting Bumpy Roads Ahead: An Assessment of Illinois’ Transportation Needs. The study examines the impact that a lack of capital funding has had on Illinois’ transportation infrastructure.
Some of the key findings:
- More than 3,300 miles of IDOT roadway have deteriorated to a point of needing immediate maintenance, an increase of 85 percent since 2000.
- 20 percent of all IDOT roadways are currently in “poor” condition.
- If Illinois’ current funding strategies continue, the number of road miles needing immediate maintenance will double by 2023.
- IDOT needs an additional $10 billion between 2018 and 2023 to bring all road miles into an acceptable condition and repair all backlogged bridges.
Again, this problem results from the lack of adequate state funding for infrastructure. The state funding formula is heavily reliant upon the motor fuel tax (MFT), which has brought in reduced revenue as hybrid vehicles and more fuel efficient vehicles grow in popularity. The study notes that while the MFT brought in $1.8 billion in revenue in 1999, that number was down to $1.3 billion in 2015.
Any help from the federal government is uncertain as well, with President Trump’s most recent infrastructure funding plan calling for states to shoulder the burden of paying for roads and bridges, alongside minimal federal funds.
While costs increase from year to year, the purchasing power of the MFT continues to dwindle, leaving our roads in disrepair. Because Illinois has not passed a capital bill to follow up the Illinois Jobs Now plan from the Quinn administration, these dwindling resources are all we have.