$2 billion in pay as you go IDOT projects proposed in Gov. Rauner’s budget message

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The Fox Valley General Contractors Association has posted a recap of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget message. “It is mostly focused on Illinois Department of Transport (IDOT) because the governor’s office didn’t provide a briefing on non-road capital,” the association’s outline says.

The proposal includes $2 billion in “pay as you go” projects with the suspension of the Illiana project.

Governor Rauner repeated what he has said in the past: Illinois has suffered from a loss of jobs and the accompanying tax base. The budget hasn’t been balanced in decades and we’ve merely raised taxes to keep paying for it all. Tax increases without reform have hurt the state. We need to focus on changing our long-term trajectory.

He will not support new revenues without structural reforms to grow jobs. He outlined two options for the General Assembly: Either give him the authority to develop a balanced budget, or work with him to develop a compromise plan. And he asked them to choose one of these options now.

He said that the people of Illinois are sick of the gridlock and that they want a resolution. The resolution must be a mix of reforms, cost reductions and revenue generation that will grow jobs, expand the tax base and decrease the burden on working families.

He again called for an increase in education funding and said that it is ‘non-negotiable.’

Transportation funding

  • IDOT calls the FY ’17 budget a “good” budget considering climate;
  • IDOT operations are not being negatively impacted due to streamlining of staff, elimination of higher level positions and a new teamster contract;
  • Headcount grows to 5,300 people which is up 400 over FY ‘16;
  • The FY ’17 budget includes no general revenue funds for IDOT. Everything is to be funded from road and other funds. Savings in salt this winter;
  • $2 billion in “pay as you go” (Paygo) highway projects which is up over the proposed ’16 budget and is the largest in six to seven years in the so-called pay-go budget;
  • IDOT has fared better in the federal road formula and is lined up well to compete for other federal discretionary funds;
  • Motor Fuel Tax receipts are supposedly up although hard to understand that in light of lower fuel prices. It was mentioned that car sales are up and some of those license/registration fees flow to IDOT;
  • Suspension of the Illiana project has freed up those funds.
  • Big push on public-private partnerships. The governor has proposed to add managed lanes to Interstate 55 under a private-public partnership. However, the existing 3P law was not intended to apply to existing roads so the governor would need General Assembly approval for this project;
  • New funding for aeronautics, transit rail and high speed rail maintenance are also proposed;
  • It remains to be seen how much of this funding will be going to engineering. The emphasis on Paygo projects probably means less for new capacity and more for maintenance.

The full text of the budget address is available here:
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160217/NEWS02/160219855/full-text-rauners-budgetaddress

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