FULTON, Illinois – Some lawmakers and people in the Quad City area are questioning why Illinois’ infrastructure bill isn’t funding local projects like fixing roads and highways locally.
The Fulton City Administrator says Fulton received $80,000 to repair roads and highways, while across the river Camanche gets $400,000. And even with Governor Pritzker’s nearly $45 billion-dollar infrastructure bill, people are still wondering whether they are getting the money they actually need.
It’s crumbling roads – with countless potholes and edges of road decaying – that Whiteside County Engineer, Russ Renner, believes are in dire need of repair.
“A lot of times trucks will use this as a short cut,” says Renner regarding Burns Road. “So, that’s why this road gets beat up pretty bad.”
“My sports car I don’t drive it because the roads are so bad,” says Burns Road driver, Tracey Gyser. “It’s a tight suspension and I’d feel like I’d lose a kidney.”
“I’d like to see the roads repaired, we are paying taxes we pay enough to get it done,” says Jim Turner, along Burns Road.
Governor Pritzker signed Illinois’ state budget earlier this month. But with his proposed capital plan, Whiteside County may not see much of a boost in funding to improve these county roads.
“It’s hard to rely on because you compete against all these agencies for the same money and you just don’t know where you fall in all that,” says Renner.
At this point, Whiteside County will mostly depend on the 19-cent motor fuel tax increase included in the infrastructure plan to fuel future road projects.
No money for Whiteside County is why that area’s state representative, Tony McCombie, voted no on the bill.
“You have a multi-year plan now and you don’t have Route 30 on that, you don’t have Route 78 on that, you don’t have Route 2, you don’t have 64, so those are big state projects,” McCombie explains.
“We just want to increase our revenue stream so we can increase our maintenance on the road,” Renner comments.
And even though these roads may not see heavy traffic, the county says they can’t be ignored.
“A lot of our roads don’t have thousands and thousands of cars a day,” says Renner. “We still need it even if it doesn’t see the amount of traffic you see in the Chicago area.”
Currently, the only project in the Quad City area receiving funding from the infrastructure bill is the $200 million plan to improve passenger railroad improvements.
The multiyear plan for this year from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is not yet complete until Governor Pritzker signs the bill. That's when Whiteside County and others could receive money to fix the roads.
Whiteside County also says they are currently repairing their roads every 35 to 40 years when they should be fixing them on a 20-year basis. Filling in potholes isn’t enough to keep the roads going according to the county engineer.