If Illinois lawmakers don't pass budget, IDOT may stop all roadwork

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Thursday, June 15, 2017
No roadwork without state budget
The Illinois Department of Transportation is sounding the alarm.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If the crumbling roads across Illinois frustrate drivers now, just imagine what it would be like if the Illinois Department of Transportation stopped all its roadwork projects.

For the first time, IDOT said it could be a reality, if there isn't a new state budget very soon.

IDOT released a statement Wednesday, which said officials hope they don't have to take drastic measures. But IDOT will lose its ability to pay contractors starting July 1.

IDOT put it on the back of the General Assembly, for what they call Springfield's "refusal to pass a balanced budget." This means all roadwork - statewide - would have to shut down by the end of the month.

IDOT already started notifying contractors, telling them the work stoppage could be coming and to secure their work zones to ensure safety during any potential shutdown.

Motorists are less than thrilled at the possibility.

"I think it's really ridiculous and it's really sad that we get to this point," said Chris Oswald, a driver.

"Really mad. Want to move out of the state. So mad. I mean, you know that's a bad state of affairs," said Carol Kauffman, another driver.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill in the final hour to prevent this from happening. Illinois residents could see a repeat this time around.

Sources said Governor Bruce Rauner may call a special session next week.

"The whole state, it needs a budget to be passed. It needs the issues to be fixed. If they're going to cease any sort of work, you know it's backwards. It's not what you'd expect," said Rory Quann, a driver.

"I think they need to do a better job all the way around," said Leland Stanford, another driver.

Regardless, IDOT is bracing for the possibility that it might not get the funding it needs.

Read the full statement below:

"Due to the General Assembly's refusal to pass a balanced budget, the Illinois Department of Transportation loses its ability to pay contractors starting July 1. While we are hopeful the situation is resolved before then, the department is notifying contractors that all construction work is to shut down on June 30. Contractors will be advised to secure work zones to ensure their safety during any potential shutdown. As always, the safety of the traveling public will be the top priority as the department works through this process."