Rauner, officials call for short-term budget to avoid road project delays

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday tried to up the pressure on lawmakers to pass a stopgap budget, this time warning that state road projects will grind to a halt next month without one.

At a Statehouse news conference, Rauner’s transportation secretary, Randy Blankenhorn, said work will have to stop on the projects after July 1, the start of the fiscal year, if lawmakers don’t approve spending authority to keep them going.
“We’re on the brink of what was once unthinkable, the suspension of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s construction program,” Blankenhorn said. “Without stopgap funding proposed by the governor, we are on a collision course with having to shut down road projects throughout the state in a few short weeks.”

Blankenhorn said the state has more than 800 active projects at this time worth about $2 billion. He said about 25,000 workers are employed on the projects, which this summer include work on Interstate 55 both north and south of Springfield, as well as on Interstate 72 west of town. Improvements underway on North Grand Avenue and from Moffat Street to Koke Mill Road would also be halted.

“Without a stopgap agreement, those projects will be shut down next month,” Blankenhorn said.

Read Doug Finke's complete article here at the State Journal-Register.