DOT IN CRISIS: Illinois' 6-year highway spending plan lays out an unpromising future for state infrastructure

Ilinois Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to cut the state budget for roads and bridges.

May 18, 2015

Illinois Gov. Rauner proposed the first multi-year highway improvement plan that would continue to tighten spending on roads and bridges.

The fiscal 2016-2021 statewide construction plan would spend approximately $8.4 billion over a six-year period, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The new plan is roughly $200 million less than the spending level laid out in the fiscal 2015-2020 highway program under Gov. Pat Quinn. It is also more than $1.1 billion less than the state roads program for 2014-2019. 

Illinois transportation officials warned that a plan like this would cause "a rapid deterioration in the overall condition of Illinois infrastructure due to a lack of sustainable investment."

Over the next six years, Chicago will receive approximately $2 billion of the total budget to repair 2,774 miles of highway and 1,446 bridges, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

IDOT’s spending projections on state road and bridges maintenance projects points to a bleak future for Illinois infrastructure.

Eighty-three percent of state highways and 93% of bridges are in acceptable condition, according to IDOT. Without action, the backlog of infrastructure that's in poor shape will increase by fiscal 2021, with only 62% of highways and 86% of bridges in acceptable condition, IDOT said.

The highway construction plan does not, however, leave room for any new major road projects in the Chicago area.

The plan is a reaction to the state’s budget crisis and preparing for an extension of the federal Highway Trust Fund.