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Illinois Road Fund Can't Pay for Roads


Less than half the money exacted from Illinois taxpayers to pay for roads is actually used to pay for roads. The Illinois Auditor General has found that, of the $5.7 billion in the state’s road fund over the past two years, $2.7 billion went to cover salaries at the Illinois Department of Transportation, bond debt payment, and other “nondirect costs.” Meanwhile, Illinois’ road infrastructure is breaking down, reports the Chicago Tribute:

Currently, 85 percent of state roads that fall under IDOT [Illinois Department of Transportation]’s jurisdiction are in acceptable condition or better, according to IDOT. The rate is projected to plummet to 65 percent by 2019, officials said. […]

The report said that in eight of the last 10 fiscal years, less than half of road fund expenditures went for direct road construction costs.

The audit also found that the road fund was fleeced for $156.6 million in group health insurance costs, and that, of the $2.7 billion that didn’t make it into actual road paving, $221.4 million was used for pension contributions.

We often speak about how the pension crisis is forcing states to cut services. In this case, services were cut without any actual “cutting”; the state simply diverted funds earmarked for important services toward the people hired to carry out those services. This makes it easy for states to cut services without voters noticing. But when voters do notice there is hell to pay, as state officials may soon discover for themselves.

[Cracked road image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Anthony

    Disappointing revelation for the Land of Lincoln especially given its 100 Billion dollar pension debt. State’s political culture certainly facilitated road fund diversion.

  • Pete

    A good rule of thumb is that the pigs in government will ALWAYS take care of themselves first and foremost.

  • Corlyss Drinkard

    State officials will just blame the Republicans’ sequester of federal funds for any shortfalls. Illinoisans are soooooooo happy to have ownership of the first black American president that they will be more than content to blame everything bad on Bush, Wall Street bankers, and Congressional Republicans.

  • bigfire

    The solution is obvious. More tax.

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