Illinois Releases $20.7 Billion Infrastructure Construction Plan

Gov. Jay Pritzker
Pritzker announces the release of a $20.7 billion transportation construction plan for the state. (Illinois Department of Transportation via Flickr)

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Illinois Gov. Jay “J.B.” Pritzker joined various officials May 19 to announce the release of a $20.7 billion transportation construction plan for the state.

The Proposed Highway Improvement Program, also known as the Multi-Year Program, covers fiscal years 2022-27. The plan dedicates $15.84 billion for the state transportation system and $4.87 billion for the local system.

Over the next six years, the plan aims to improve 2,779 miles of roadway and 7.9 million square feet of bridge deck. Of the total $20.7 billion, some $3.3 billion has been identified for the upcoming fiscal year. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, some 8.8% of the bridges in Illinois are classified as structurally deficient.

The plan sets aside $42 million for upgrading local truck routes. Other major investments include $5.79 billion for roadway reconstruction and preservation, $4.82 billion for bridge improvements, $2.59 billion for expansion efforts, $1.43 billion for system support, such as engineering and land acquisition, and $1.21 billion for safety projects.

“We are continuing to build and sustain infrastructure that gives Illinois its competitive edge and strengthens our status as the transportation hub of North America,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “This latest multiyear program means we will keep making historic improvements in our transportation system, just as we have throughout the pandemic.”

The investment represented in the plan is supported by Rebuild Illinois, an infrastructure improvement initiative approved in 2019 that is meant to support investment in roads, bridges, transit, education, state parks, historic sites and clean water infrastructure.

Illinois’ fuel tax rate doubled in 2019 as part of Rebuild Illinois, and rates increased again slightly in 2020.

The state’s current motor fuel tax rates are 46.2 cents per gallon for diesel and 38.7 cents per gallon for gasoline.

Since its inception, Rebuild Illinois has supported a number of infrastructure funding opportunities, covering the marine transportation system and local truck route projects.

“Illinois needs reliable infrastructure capable of move people and goods safely across the state,” said state Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago). “Alleviating congestion, resurfacing roads and rehabilitating bridges are key activities to keep economic activity and prosperity flowing across Illinois.”

The Multi-Year Program is expected to create thousands of jobs, which will be an important factor as Illinois economically recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pritzker also announced the return of full passenger rail service via Amtrak, which will resume July 19. Services had been reduced out of concerns related to COVID-19. According to the governor’s office, approximately 4.9 million Illinoisans are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Amtrak has stations in 30 communities in Illinois and provides connections to places such as Milwaukee and St. Louis.

“As Illinois residents begin to travel throughout the state once again regularly for both work and leisure following the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring our infrastructure provides safe, efficient means to do so is a top priority of mine,” said state Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “Furthermore, the projects outlined in the plan will provide thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans who have longed for a return to work.”

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