Acting Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Milt Sees unveiled Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s $10.9 billion multiyear Highway Improvement Program for the Fiscal Years 2008 through 2013 on April 19.
The Multiyear Plan (MYP) focuses on maintenance of the current road system. The MYP complements $3 billion in capital road projects included in Governor Blagojevich’s Tax Fairness Plan proposed in Senate Bill 1.
The MYP and the bonded capital program would result in nearly $13.9 billion of highway investments over the next six years.
“The Multiyear Road Program, combined with capital projects that will result from our Tax Fairness Plan, will maintain and upgrade roads and bridges and expand our existing transportation network. These are critical investments that will put people to work and make life better for millions of Illinois drivers,” said Blagojevich.
The budget proposed in Senate Bill 1 provides additional funding to allow an approximately $3 billion bonded program for new road construction as a result of the gross receipts tax replacing $250 million in existing Illinois State Police and Secretary of State subsidies that have taken place since the 1990s. This will allow $250 million in previously transferred Road Fund monies to pay debt service on bonds for road construction.
In addition, if the gross receipts tax and pension proposal in the Governor’s budget are not adopted, pension funding of more than $200 million will be required from the Road Fund over the next four years. The MYP will be reduced and some of the expansion projects as well as some of the congestion mitigation projects will be eliminated from the program if additional pension funding is required.
In the proposed MYP announced April 19, $7.67 billion will be used on the state’s highway system, while $3.21 billion will be used on local roads. On the state system, $5.6 billion — or almost three-fourths — will be used for roadway maintenance, safety and bridge repair. Funding for urban area congestion relief totals $1.4 billion, while $640 million is targeted to expand the system with new roads to increase access and promote economic development.
The FY 2008-13 MYP is based upon conservative estimates of federal, state and local funding, including $7.037 billion in federal funds, $3.127 billion in state funds and $711 million in local funds. The federal portion of the MYP is based upon anticipated levels established in the federal transportation legislation known as SAFETEA-LU.
“IDOT is focusing its resources on maintaining the state’s network of roads and bridges and on safety improvements,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Milt Sees. “But if we want to expand our system and spark economic development, lawmakers must approve a capital bill. And with inflation in the road building industry running as high 15 to 20 percent per year, the longer we wait, the more these projects will cost.”