Rockford, Illinois News

Pritzker announces $21B road improvement plan

Plan will improve 3,356 miles of roads, 8.4 million square feet of bridges

METRO EAST – Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Tuesday to announce the release of a $21.3 billion plan to improve Illinois roads and bridges over the next six years.

The critical investment in communities throughout the state is made possible by the Governor’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first in nearly a decade.

“Illinois remains a hub for commerce and transit – and not just for this nation, but for the entire global economy,” the governor said. “We are the fifth-largest economy in the United States, and the crossroads for national and international companies who need our roads and airports and rail and rivers and people to move their products. “Even in a pandemic – especially in a pandemic – our transportation systems connect the lives of our residents and our communities. Our roads and bridges deliver Illinoisans to work and home again, to school, to the pharmacy, to the doctor’s office.”

Pritzker said the plan provides funding to reconstruct over 3,300 miles of roads and over 8 million square feet of bridges and creates and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Last year, Pritzker announced the first multi-year plan under Rebuild Illinois. Since then, IDOT began multiple construction projects including the ongoing $67 million Interstate 255 (I-255) rehabilitation project in St. Clair and Madison counties. Construction, which began in February, will fix one of the worst roads in the state. By closing I-255 completely, IDOT will be able to complete the work in one construction season instead of several, saving an anticipated $14 million that can be reinvested in other projects. The administration will look to replicate that approach in other parts of the state.

“Under the leadership of Gov. Pritzker, IDOT throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has focused on continued investments in infrastructure to keep people safe and the economy moving,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “The multi-year plan keeps us on task during these uncertain times. While we are not cutting or delaying projects, we will continue monitoring the impacts on future revenues to ensure we are investing taxpayer resources wisely.”

Based on current funding levels, the FY2021-26 Proposed Highway Improvement Program will improve 3,356 miles of roads and 8.4 million square feet of bridge deck. Of the total $21.3 billion included in the six-year program, $3.15 billion has been identified for the current fiscal year.

The program will create and support hundreds of thousands of earning opportunities over the next six years for Illinois residents in communities across the state. As the Illinois economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, these jobs will be a critical resource for families working to get back on their feet.

Projects included in the program were selected based on objective criteria, such as pavement conditions, traffic volumes, and crash history. Over the next six years, $6.1 billion of the funding will go toward highway reconstruction and preservation, $4.7 billion towards bridge improvements, $2.6 billion for strategic expansion, $1.8 billion for system support like engineering and land acquisition, and $1.4 billion for safety and system modernizations.

Pritzker said his administration will continue to prioritize repairing and replacing the state’s infrastructure before it deteriorates, a practice not followed by previous administrations. Through this approach, the administration aims to extend the life of Illinois roads and bridges, improve public safety, and operate transparently while saving taxpayers billions of dollars in the long run.

Passed in 2019, Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois is investing a total $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system.

The full plan is available here.

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