Stopped Gap

July 1, 2016

The Illinois General Assembly passed a complex budget package June 30 that headed off what would have been a halt to highway projects statewide.

A day earlier, statewide newspapers and websites published a group editorial condemning the higher-ranking members of Illinois' legislature and Governor Rauner for their inability to reach a budget, calling their lack of action 'political malpractice'.

Governor Rauner negotiated with legislative leaders on a stopgap six-month spending plan for the Illinois DOT and other parts of the government. The House and Senate voted it through just hours before a halt to projects would have taken effect.

DOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn had warned that, "We are on the brink of shutting down construction projects throughout the state. Every corner of Illinois will be impacted, with much-needed improvements delayed indefinitely, tens of thousands of workers sent home and millions of unnecessary costs added."

IDOT posted a June 30 notice on its website saying: "No suspension of construction and other activities that was scheduled for tomorrow (July 1, 2016) will occur and business will continue as usual."

Lawmakers voted on a package of budget-related bills including a transit tax increment financing district for Chicago that could pay local matching costs to rebuild and extend transit lines, and rebuild Union Station that is served by local and Amtrak passenger rail.