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*** UPDATED x1 *** IDOT special appropriation desired

Tuesday, Jun 20, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.”


  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 10:49 am:

    Look at those specific economic and fiscal projections.

    Rauner should put these guys on running the ROI on his personal agenda. Apparently, his peeps now at GOMB are incapable of these standard tasks of their profession.

    Or the actual projections don’t come close to covering their costs in fiscal, economic and human damage.

  2. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    == 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. ==

    Same argument can be used against an IDOT only appropriation.

  3. - Workin' - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Wonder what the negative ROI for a K-12 education shutdown might be? We already see the higher ed impact.

  4. - Blue Bayou - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    This is crazy.

    Budget or nothing. Period.

  5. - Markus - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Maybe IDOT could compute the negative ROI for the Rauner Run-Aground agenda?

  6. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    IDOT contractors are not the only group worried about “flow through” federal funds be stopped due to the budget impasse.

    Last year, when it became clear there was not going to be a full year budget, the GA passed a bill allowing federal funds for human services to keep flowing.

    Many human service providers in areas like substance abuse are paid with federal funds.

  7. - Sheesh! - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    How much funding is available for IDOT pursuant to Article IX, Section 11 of the Illinois Constitution? Is there a shortfall or is the available cash being held back?

  8. - Casual observer - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    Open the lockbox and allow earmarks so members can get road projects for their districts. That’s how you get votes for all kinds of things.

  9. - cdog - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    “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.”

    Where did $500 million go? Cayman Islands?

    I thought there was a “Keynesian multiplier effect” with government expenditures and the turnover of those dollars in the economy.

    I call “bs” on that statement. Anybody know more?

  10. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    not everyone has kids in school; cars on the other hand are ubiquitous. There are 4,775,414 cars registered in Illinois ( 2015), and the owners all vote. Give them the cash or it will be a long hot summer stuck in half finished construction zones.

  11. - Skirmish - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    Full budget or nothing at all. The incredibly astute Illinois electorate created this mess, and they won’t rise up to kill the monster until it makes them bleed.

  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    === Give them the cash or it will be a long hot summer stuck in half finished construction zones===

    Would you define that as “pressure”? I would. So, by the governor’s/GOP’s spring session logic, this should most definitely not happen without a real budget.

  13. - A Jack - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    Roads are the one thing that most taxpayers use. The IPI will get much less mileage on their blasting of a tax increase when the average joe taxpayer has to get his tires fixed every few months because of the horrendous state of the roads.

    In fact, the GA may want to temporarily lower the speed limit on highways to keep them safer during the impasse. People can thank the Governor for making their trip take twice as long.

  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Cdog, why don’t you read the report if you have questions? or are you waiting for others to read it and explain it to you in little words?

  15. - phocion - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    An unreported part of the Senate Democrat’s budget is that they would cut road construction by another $100 million by moving transit operations from the GRF to the road fund.

  16. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    It is fitting that this game of political chicken end with a crash on the highway.

    We need some courageous Republicans to put the State first. Not betting on it.

  17. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Rauner appoints the Secretary of Transportation at IDOT. Those transportation folks know how to play the game, and wouldn’t be playing it without the Governor’s go-ahead.

  18. - cdog - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    Word, I had not read the report, but have now skimmed it.

    I still think my question is valid but will rephrase it. Either the fancy IMPLAN algorithm is wrong or Keynesian multiplier effect of government spending is wrong. Which is it?

    IMPLAN predicts $.80 economic effect of each government $1.00 spent. That’s a poor return. (No fancy words needed to confuse the reader.:)

  19. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===In fact, the GA may want to temporarily lower the speed limit on highways to keep them safer during the impasse. People can thank the Governor for making their trip take twice as long===

    Well, they’d better start putting the stickers on the speed limit signs this week, because after July 1, there would be no crews at IDOT, and no way to pay contractors, to do it.

  20. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    “Roads are the one thing that everybody uses.”

    Fixed it for you. The highway system is critical to the economic health of our State and Country. There isn’t a product that we use or consume that wasn’t transported by road. Good roads have driven (pun intended) economic growth since the 1940’s.

    IDOT shutting on June 30 isn’t just what we see while driving. It includes all of the consultants drawing plans for projects later this year and into next year.

    I was looking at a 2010 Virginia study on the ecomomic impact of $1 billion investment in highway construction:
    Created 18,695 jobs for $720.4 million payroll.
    Paid $1.6 mill in State income tax
    Paid $53.7 mill in Federal income tax
    Generated $118.7 mill state sales tax.
    Added total $2.45 billion to the Virginia economy.

    If IDOT has any hopes of a successful construction season, a budget is a necessity by June 30. They could limp through the 4th of July, but no longer than July 5th.

  21. - sharkette - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    Dusty accounts with cash..
    Fact: the buying agency, or vouching agency determines what fund their PO/BOA is to come from.
    Then the voucher goes to the cantroller. Who legally may only verify, yes this is a real invoice. AND that office may only pass it along.
    Then it is passed to the treasurer who releases the payable.
    IF the fund chosen by the agency to pay it from has money in it to pay and ONLY after:

    The problem is the legislators have not approved the funds to expend on the bills.
    The other slightly larger issue is the state of ILLness has 800 funds.
    Which is bout 600 to many.
    Of course the legislators would actually have to go to work to change that as well.

  22. - Present - Tuesday, Jun 20, 17 @ 6:16 pm:

    At least IDOT teamsters have a contract. There is that. No/s

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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