[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
Illinois Gov. Jay “J.B.” Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation have released the Multi-Year Plan, which dedicates $23.5 billion to infrastructure projects throughout the state.
The plan, unveiled at a public ceremony Oct. 21, is supported through the massive Rebuild Illinois program. Approved in June, Rebuild Illinois is a $45 billion infrastructure improvement initiative meant to fund investment in roads, bridges, transit, education, state parks, historic sites and clean water infrastructure. Under Rebuild Illinois, the state’s fuel tax rate doubled to 38 cents per gallon for diesel and gas from 19 cents per gallon.
In particular, the Multi-Year Plan dedicates $19.4 billion to state roads and bridges and $4.1 billion to local infrastructure projects over the next six years.
“In my nearly 30 years at this agency, today might be the most important day in our history,” said Omer Osman, acting secretary for IDOT. “This Multi-Year Plan gets us on the path to fixing our roads and bridges, putting policies into action that ensure our transportation system in Illinois is reliable, safe and provides economic opportunity for generations to come. It is the blueprint for how we Rebuild Illinois.”
According to a press release issued by Pritzker’s office, the Multi-Year Plan signals a change in Illinois’ approach to maintaining infrastructure. In the past, the state delayed upgrades to roads and bridges for so long that the deterioration became a threat to traveler safety. With guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, Illinois will now prioritize maintaining the transportation system gradually over time, which it said is a more cost-effective approach. The state’s goal is to preserve assets so they remain in acceptable condition over time instead of worsening.
Of the $19.4 billion the Multi-Year Plan sets aside for state projects, some $7.58 billion is slated for roadway maintenance, including reconstruction and resurfacing efforts. Another $4.99 billion is scheduled to address bridge needs. A sum of $1.59 billion will go toward safety projects, such as interchange reconstructions. Another $3.08 billion will be used for expansion work, such as additional lanes placed on a stretch of U.S. Route 24 in central Illinois. The remaining $2.11 billion will be used for miscellaneous system support, such as engineering, training or Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
The $4.14 billion identified in the Multi-Year Plan for local improvements will support an estimated 755 miles of road and more than 744,000 square feet of bridge deck. Some $42 million will be directed to upgrading local truck routes.
Illinois’ infrastructure received a grade of C- on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ most recent report card, issued in early 2018. The grades for three sectors of infrastructure — bridges, roads and transit — went down since Illinois’ 2014 report card. Bridges went from a C+ in 2014 to a C, while roads and transit both fell from D+ to D.
The Multi-Year Plan will be updated every year to reflect revenue changes and adjustments to projects.
Pritzker noted the construction projects outlined in the Multi-Year Plan can lead to job growth. The larger Rebuild Illinois plan is projected to support 540,000 jobs in the coming years.
“All together, these road and bridge projects will create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years for hardworking Illinoisans in every part of our state,” Pritzker said. “Illinois has some of the most important roads in America — let’s make them outlast and outperform those across the nation.”
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing: