Budget impasse could impact local road projects
The story is a familiar one for the Union County Highway Department.
Uncertainty surrounding the State of Illinois' budget and its impact on the highway department were discussed at last Friday morning's regular meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners.
The meeting was Friday morning, June 24, at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
As of early this week, the state still did not have a budget for Fiscal Year 2015-2016. The fiscal year began on July 1, 2015, and ends Thursday, today.
The state also did not have a budget in place for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
In light of the budget impasse, Union County Highway Department engineer and superintendent Kevin Grammer said Friday that the Illinois Department of Transportation has informed industry officials about a possible shutdown of state road projects starting June 30.
The shutdown could have an immediate impact on two Union County projects, Grammer said.
A Sadler Road bridge project would be impacted by a shutdown.
A major improvement project along Skyline Drive between Cobden and Alto Pass also would by impacted by the situation surrounding the state budget impasse.
E.T. Simonds Construction Co. submitted the only bid for the Skyline Drive project. The bid was for $1,423,018.49.
The project would be the second phase of major improvement work on the Union County road.
The first phase involved work from old U.S. Route 51 to the Jamestown Road area. In the second phase, work would be done from the Jamestown Road area, through Alto Pass and to Illinois Route 127.
The work is scheduled to take two construction seasons to complete. Plans had called for the work to begin this year.
Grammer said that the highway department also could face the loss of monthly allocations of state motor fuel tax funding.
The county receives about $65,000 to $70,000 each month in motor fuel tax funds from the state.
The loss of motor fuel tax funds would be a repeat of a situation which unfolded during the past year.
Without the motor fuel tax funds, maintenance and repair work on county roads would be put on hold.