State construction projects jeopardized by budget stall, officials say

 

SPRINGFIELD – Top state officials on Wednesday said major state construction projects are threatened by the lack of a budget.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn and Capital Development Board Executive Director Jodi Golden discussed what they said was the importance of passing the GOP Leaders’ fully-funded stopgap budget for public infrastructure projects.

“Improving our state’s infrastructure is an investment in our future,” Rauner said. “These projects create jobs and help fuel the state’s economy, and in the case of road construction and maintaining State’s facilities, parks and historical sites, they’re important to public safety.”

HB 6585/SB 3435 will ensure summer road construction projects are able to continue “seamlessly and without interruption,” they said in a statement. The bill will appropriate funding for the state’s full road construction program including bridge repair and local government road allocations. These programs are funded predominantly out of motor fuel tax funds and vehicle registration fees.

“Without passage of the stopgap funding bill proposed by the governor and Republican leaders in the legislature, we are on the brink of shutting down construction projects throughout the state,” said Blankenhorn. “Every corner of Illinois will be impacted, with much-needed improvements delayed indefinitely, tens of thousands of workers sent home and millions of unnecessary costs added. What the governor is proposing is a reasonable solution that will allow our programs to continue seamlessly.”

In addition, HB 6585/SB 3435 will appropriate non-GRF line items to restart mothballed capital projects that were not included in the Democrat’s FY16 capital appropriations bill. For example, public university and community college projects, mental health facilities and veteran homes projects would restart and continue.

“More than 200 capital projects were impacted last June because the majority party failed to fund them in their capital reappropriations bill,” CDB Executive Director Golden said. “Each day that goes by, this continues to impact more than 500 contractors, designers, and subcontractors; thousands of construction workers and suppliers; thousands of schoolchildren and all the people that live, work and visit the State’s facilities, parks and historical sites. It is imperative for the General Assembly to pass HB 6585/SB 3435 to ensure important building construction projects are allowed to restart and continue.”

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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