For too long, Illinois' transportation system has been on a starvation diet, and the results are obvious. In the past we've relied on infrequent (and inadequate) capital bills to patch together funding. To allow us to return our roads, bridges and transit to good condition and plan for growth, we need a substantial, regular, reliable source of revenue.
After extensive study and consulting with transportation experts around the state, we've determined Illinois needs an additional $43 billion over 10 years, or an average of $4.3 billion each year. That's less than we're already wasting today on extra repairs to vehicles as a result of poor road conditions, time lost to congestion and delays, and loss of jobs and investment to neighboring states. Rebuilding our infrastructure will cost less than continuing to suffer.
A regular investment of $4.3 billion each year for the next ten years will fill the gap so we can make the fixes we need now, plus allow for sensible expansion to accommodate growth. Any less is insufficient…
Any less is insufficient to meet the maintenance backlog. Waiting will only increase our costs and put us further behind our neighboring states, who are already taking action to invest more in infrastructure.
Let's fill this $43 billion pothole and get back in gear.
Since 2012, 23 states have taken action to invest more in transportation. Currently, 16 more states are considering action. If Illinois doesn't do something this year, not only will we continue to suffer potholed roads and delayed trains, but we will be less attractive to new businesses that want to invest and create jobs in Illinois.
Taken action Considering action
Source: Transportation for America
We have a lot of options on the table. Recently, states like S Massachusetts and l Pennsylvania have updated their gas taxes. Some have switched to a wholesale tax that will keep up with inflation. Other states like i Ohio and s Virginia have adjusted their transportation-related user fees, like tolls and vehicle registrations. In 2014, our neighbors to the north in v Wisconsin passed a constitutional amendment to ensure that money collected for transportation goes into a dedicated, protected fund so it can only be spent on transportation. Illinois could use a combination of options like these to return our transportation investment to a healthy, sustainable level.
Around Illinois, there are hundreds of projects planned to improve the safety and expand the capacity of our existing roads and rails. From repaving a road to rebuilding a bridge, these are common-sense upgrades that will save us time every day. We simply need to invest in making them happen.
These are just a few highlights from among the hundreds of transportation improvements around Illinois that are planned but not fully funded. For more detail, see Illinois Dept. of Transportation's featured projects or the Chicago-region maps below.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) map details planned highway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements in the greater Chicago region.
Projects by Senate and House districts