The state of Illinois is facing a $39.5 billion shortfall to meet anticipated transportation demands during the next five years, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
The shortfall coupled with an emphasis on maintaining existing roadways and bridges translate into a shrinking portion of the state budget devoted to easing congestion on state roads.
A recent state report described Illinois' transportation future as at a "crossroads" because of the lack of money to tackle needed work.
"The state's current revenues for transportation cannot adequately address these needs," the report states. "Despite the recent one-time infusions of federal stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the Illinois Jobs Now! bond program, Illinois' transportation system needs continue to grow against a backdrop of declining or stagnant revenue growth.
The report continues to say the cost of materials will exacerbate the "already very scarce transportation dollars."
An investigation by the BND's Washington Bureau found the state spent nearly four times more money maintaining roads and bridges than building new arteries between 2004 and 2011. The state spent $1.45 billion constructing new roads and bridges to mitigate congestion in comparison to $5.64 billion to maintain existing roads and bridges.
The eight-year average dropped considerably in the current fiscal year.
Only 11 percent of the state transportation budget was designated for adding traffic capacity to public roads. The budget includes $756 million for new roads and bridges compared to $5.87 billion for maintenance.
The BND Washington Bureau's analysis of Federal Highway Administration reports found Illinois spent a total of $8.59 billion on road and bridge work in the eight-year period. About $934 million of which stemmed from federal stimulus money.
The state continues paying off more than $6 billion in bonds sold to pay for transportation projects.
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at email@example.com or 618-239-2501.