June 21, 2016 5:35 PM, EDT

Illinois DOT Nearing Construction Shutdown, Layoffs of Highway Workers

Illinois is on the verge of stopping all highway construction July 1 because of the ongoing budget impasse between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled Legislature. That was the message Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn delivered to Matt Hart, Illinois Trucking Association executive director, during their June 21 meeting in Springfield.

Blankenhorn told him that all projects scheduled to be bid also will be delayed as IDOT’s legal spending authority will expire July 1, Hart said. 

A shutdown will cause the layoffs of an estimated 25,000 highway workers. Local governments also will not receive any motor fuel tax revenue from the state after June 30 until the Legislature passes a budget and Rauner signs it.

“ITA is still hopeful that a budget agreement can be reached by June 30, whether that is a yearlong budget or a six-month budget,” Hart told Transport Topics. “If a budget agreement cannot be reached, [as was the case] last summer, we are hopeful that lawmakers will at least pass a transportation appropriation bill that will give IDOT the legal authority to pay for highway projects that are already underway.”

While IDOT’s permit office will remain open, the status of the state’s rest areas is unclear. ITA is warning all drivers to use extreme caution after July 1, especially in construction zones.