IDOT Construction To Shut Down
A lot of people complain about crumbling roads in Illinois. Imagine if no construction work was done to fix them. Fox's Esther Kwon reports it might be a possibility.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is facing the very real possibility of shutting down its operations - again. IDOT released a statement Thursday morning that all construction work will stop at the end of this month because of the state's budget impasse.
"So does that mean the roads are going to be left as they are right now?" Sherman resident Patti Baird asked. "That's going to be a real pain."
"There are a lot of potholes that, of course...are damaging - whether it be their tire or their whole vehicle, of course," said Springfield resident Joseph Stockard.
The Illinois Department of Transportation sent us this statement:
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.
Bill Frey, the Executive Director of the Associated General Contractors of Illinois, said, "That's 30,000 workers - carpenters, men and women, laborers, operators - that will not be going to work." An unexpected break from work that usually keeps contractors busy this time of year - the peak construction season.
"You're right in the prime time to get a lot of stuff done," said Frey. "You're running at full steam and all of a sudden you're going to shut it all off, take all the equipment away, send all the men and women home and wait, and just wait and have to see what happens with the budget," he said.
Motorists say the potential shutdown is upsetting, and some say they want lawmakers to stay in session until a full budget is passed - even if they aren't being paid. "I think it's crazy that we pay them and they keep going stopgap, stopgap budgets, like, get it done! Get it done on time," said Baird.
Illinoisans concerned that already hazardous driving conditions will only get worse. "I think the current condition is pretty pitiful," Baird stated. "We've got a lot of potholes and a lot of bad roads."
Stockard said, "It's very upsetting because I feel like, as a consumer, just like everybody else, we should be able to feel safe out on the roads."
This is not the first time IDOT has faced a potential construction shutdown. Last year, lawmakers came together during the 11th hour to pass a stopgap budget that did fund IDOT, and that's what they're hoping will happen again this time around.