* From a new Illinois Economic Policy Institute publication called “IDOT Shut-Down: Understanding the Economic and Transportation Consequences”…
This report utilizes the industry standard IMPLAN economic analysis software to identify the potential impact of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) recent announcement that it will be unable to continue paying its contractors and will cease all construction work throughout the state on June 30, 2017. While this is expected to impact all IDOT projects, including transit and rail, this report focuses on the $2.2 billion in planned road and bridge improvements in fiscal year (FY) 2018. Assuming a shutdown lasting the entire year, we forecast the following impacts:
* A Shrinking Economy: The loss of $2.2 billion in state infrastructure investment would reduce overall economic activity in the state by $1.77 billion in FY 2018.
* Job Losses: A protracted IDOT shutdown will cause a loss of 23,000 jobs. While middle class construction employment will be most affected, the losses will extend beyond construction related industries and will touch all economic sectors.
* Added Strain on Public Budgets: The loss of jobs and economic activity would reduce state and local tax revenues by $115 million, while increasing demand for taxpayer-funded unemployment insurance by as much as $155 million.
* More Congestion and Transportation Safety Problems: With infrastructure projects designed to alleviate congestion, address safety issues, and complete important maintenance needs, the IDOT shutdown would likely lead to increased travel times and could subject the public to unsafe travel conditions.
Because IDOT projects are fully funded by federal aid, fuel taxes, vehicle fees, and local sources— funding that is protected by a state constitutional amendment passed by Illinois voters in 2016— there is no reason for IDOT funding to be held hostage as part of the ongoing state budget stalemate. An IDOT shutdown is easily prevented through appropriation of already available funds, as was done for FY 2017.
True, but the Rauner administration staunchly opposed legislation during the spring session that would’ve appropriated existing funds sitting idle in state bank accounts for higher education and social services. That money is still accumulating and collecting dust, by the way. But the GA shouldn’t appropriate that idle cash, the governor and Republicans argued, because it would take “pressure” off of legislators to end the impasse.
Unlike higher ed and social services, however, IDOT is threatening a total shutdown. Those transportation folks know how to play the bureaucratic game.
* From the SJ-R…
Even the threat of a statewide transportation-construction shutdown on July 1 — including Illinois’ $1.9 billion high-speed rail program — has begun to cost jobs and put projects behind schedule, according to the industry.
The Illinois Department of Transportation advised contractors last week to prepare for the shutdown if lawmakers are unable to approve a budget by the end of the state fiscal year on June 30. More than a dozen road projects totaling $284 million in the Springfield area alone would be affected, including four partly funded by the city of Springfield. Work on the Third Street rail corridor in Springfield also is part of the high-speed rail project between St. Louis and Chicago.
[I need more coffee, apparently. This was an IEPI publication, not an IDOT publication. Changes have been made.]
*** UPDATE *** Press release…
Democratic Chairmen’s Association Statement Regarding Potential Road Construction Shutdown
Rauner’s inability to compromise will create a public safety crisis and will
affect 23,000 Middle Class jobs
Springfield, IL – Last week the Illinois Department of Transportation issued a dire statement that the agency plans to suspend all construction projects on June 30th if a State Budget is not enacted. With the release of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute’s study on this suspension, Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association President Doug House issued the following statement:
“Every citizen in our state will be affected by the suspension of these projects and it sickens me that Governor Rauner doesn’t care about the job losses and public safety challenges this stalemate guarantees. Whether it is improvements to decade’s old bridges, state highways that are crumbling or the ongoing improvements to our rail corridors, repairing our infrastructure is crucial keeping people safe and keeping our economy growing.”
House also added:
“Social service agencies and higher education institutions have already been burned by Bruce Rauner’s refusal to compromise. We cannot let public safety and our transportation efforts be the next victim.”