Analysis of Gov. Blagojevich’s 2008 transportation budget - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Analysis of Gov. Blagojevich’s 2008 transportation budget

On March 7, 2007, the governor released his plans for the State of Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2008 budget. While his public remarks did not delve into transportation funding for next year, the budget document, “FY 2008 Capital Budget” did provide details on h

Summary

The governor’s own budget admits that Illinois roads and bridges are not being maintained, and yet highway spending is reduced from 2007 levels. The Chicago CREATE rail program, essential to unclogging transportation in the Chicago area, has a roughly $1.3 billion funding gap. The RTA needs $400 million in additional operating assistance for FY 2008, and $2 billion per year in additional capital funding over the next five years. The governor’s budget does not address any of these needs.

Illinois an aggressive capital improvement program that, at a minimum, matches the transportation funding level for Illinois FIRST in 2007 dollars, which would be at least $4.5 billion. Such a proposal should move through the legislative process in conjunction with a capital investment accountability act and an RTA reform proposal so that vital state transportation dollars are utilized in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Highways

Percent of Ill. state highways in acceptable maintenance condition:
FY 2004: 90% FY 2008: 85%

Percent of Ill. bridges in acceptable maintenance condition:
FY 2004: 92% FY 2008 90%

Percent decrease in Road Improvement program from FY 2007 to FY 2008 : 5%

  • The Road Improvement Program is funded at $1.875 billion - a decrease of $100 million from the FY 07 level of $1.975 billion.
  • In 2008, the State of Illinois will fund approximately 26 % of the Road Improvement Program, while the federal government will fund 67 percent, and local governments 7 %.
  • The state share is generally derived from motor-fuel revenues and vehicle license fees.

Major IDOT projects:

1. I-55, Weber Road to I-80
Additional lanes, bridge work

2. I-39, Abraham Lincoln Bridge , Illinois River, LaSalle County
Bridge renovation

3. I-57, Curtis Road , Champaign County
New interchange

4. US 51, Decatur to Pana
Four-lane construction

5. I-72, Springfield, MacArthur Blvd
Interchange construction

6. US 136/Illinois 336
Quincy to Macomb corridor, four-lane construction

7. I-57, Old Illinois 13 and CO&E Railroad
Interchange and bridge reconstruction

8. Illinois 157, St. Clair County
Renovation and railroad overpass

Transit

  • RTA operating: $419,869.7, a 1.5% increase over the $413,769.7 FY 07 level.
    Reduced fare reimbursement: $37,318.1 (same as FY 2007)
    Paratransit: $54,251.1 (same)
    RTA Debt Service: $135,000.3 (same)
    RTA Operating Assistance: $193,000.0 ($186,900.0 in FY 2007)

Note : The RTA asked for $400 million additional in operating funds, which would be a 100%+ increase. They received a 1.5% increase.

  • FY 2008 bond appropriation of $200 million. In total, the budget authorizes $425 million in authorization over three years to match federal aid, with $110 million in FY 2009 and $115 million in FY 2010.

Major Projects:

1. Preliminary engineering on the Chicago Transit Authority’s planned Circle Line – adding a circumferential loop and connecting all CTA and Metra rail lines in Chicago .

2. Modernizing and replacing Chicago Transit Authority railcars .

3. Preliminary engineering on Metra’s STAR line connecting four Metra rail lines and providing direct access to O’Hare.

4. Funding for MetroLink light rail system expansion.

5. New transit facilities in various Downstate public transit districts including Rock Island ; Bloomington-Normal; Springfield ; Galesburg ; and River Valley Metro.

6. New buses in various Downstate public transit districts including Rock Island , St. Clair County, Madison County ,

Aviation

$20 million for airports outside Chicago (commercial airports are generally funded by ticket taxes and other assorted fees).

Railroads

  • $28 million is proposed for Amtrak operations, up from $24.25 million last year. FY 06 levels were $12 million, increased to $24 million in FY 07 for four new Amtrak roundtrips from Chicago to Carbondale , St. Louis , and Quincy . The $28 million number reflects the need to run Amtrak trains over a 12 month period, since the $24 million just included start up costs and nine months of new Amtrak service.
  • The governor’s budget includes $25 million in federal pass-through funding (part of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski’s $100 million earmark) for CREATE. Therefore, the governor’s budget does not include any state funding for railroad infrastructure improvements.

For more information on the governor's transportation budget, visit the State of Illinois' Office of Management and Budget .

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