Governor Quinn announced $100 million of his “Illinois Jobs Now” campaign will go towards fixing roads and infrastructure in Illinois; $3.2 million of which will go to the local counties of Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren and Whiteside Counties.
Foreman Lee Henry of the Mercer County Highway Department said they desperately need the funds for roads that were built over forty years ago.
“All the roads were built in the 70s when things were smaller. [It used to be that] you hauled to town in a single axle truck. Now you got semis and the tractors are bigger and your fertilizer…everything’s just bigger,” said Henry. “They’re just not made for the heavy traffic anymore.”
Mercer County doesn’t have a lot of local funding to help fix the roads, it’s money mostly generated from a vehicle fuel tax that doesn’t cover much and right now Mercer County can only afford to patch up holes temporarily.
“[Hopefully we could] just got some extra money to where it would let us come in and fix something right and do it one time instead of every year re-doing it,” Henry said.
County Engineer Jimmy Samaniego said that if Quinn follows through on his promise, he would use the money to repair infrastructures such as Joy Road and the County Highway 6 Bridge; both costing a total of over $8 million.
“[The money would help] not just to overcome this last winter, but to overcome our day to day needs with our roads. Our roads are in bad shape,” Samaniego said.
Mercer County hopes to start construction on their roads early this spring; Quinn has yet to specify when the local counties will receive funding.