Ongoing budget crisis could impact summer road work, schools in - KMOV.com

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Ongoing budget crisis could impact summer road work, schools in Illinois

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Road construction (Credit: KMOV) Road construction (Credit: KMOV)

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) – The lack of a budget is jeopardizing everything from road projects to education in the state of Illinois.

Officials met in Springfield, Illinois on June 21 to discuss the budget crisis. Yet Illinois State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill says things are still deadlocked as they were in the spring and even a year ago when no budget was agreed to.

"I think both sides are digging in their heels which gets us further away from where we want to go, which is finding middle ground and finding solutions to staggering problems we have in the state today,” said Manar. 

The state’s comptroller lists over $7 billion in unpaid bills in Illinois.

Currently, the Illinois Department of Transportation needs $550 million to continue and complete road work across the state. If the funds are not raised, many construction projects will be left unfinished and some won’t happen at all.

The department plans to shut down all construction projects starting June 30 because the state has not passed a balanced budget.

The Illinois Secretary of Transportation told News 4 he is working to find enough orange cones, detour and warning signs to safely guide drivers through deserted construction projects. He said around 25,000 construction workers across the state will be out of work if they stop working on the more than 800 projects.

In the Metro East area there are several projects that could be in jeopardy. According to the Belleville News Democrat, there are more than $130 million worth of construction projects going on in St. Clair and Madison counties, including the new ramp from the Martin Luther King Bridge, Interstate 55/64 and the Central Railroad near Belleville.

In May, IDOT announced a $1.8 billion construction plan for the next fiscal year, but the state cannot spend the money with a budget in place.

Some school districts are sweating out if they can open in August. Officials say on June 29, superintendents all over Illinois will be meeting to demand action to save their schools.

It has been nearly a year since Illinois had a spending plan.

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