Springfield, IL… On Saturday night the Illinois House passed a massive $40 billion dollar state capital plan. State Representative McDermed (R-Mokena) spearheaded the effort to put together a capital plan to bring Illinois’ infrastructure into the 21st century.
In the General Assembly Rep. McDermed is the Republican Spokesperson for the Transportation: Regulation, Roads, and Bridges Committee and sits on all four subcommittees. Locally, she is a member of the I-80 coalition leadership team, a group of government, business and labor representatives that was launched by the Will County Center for Economic Development. In addition, Rep. McDermed serves on the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.
“When I took office I asked my constituents what was most important to them and transportation was far and away number one. Armed with that knowledge I took the lead in committees and planning for this capital bill,” Rep. McDermed said. “Everyone who drives, rides, or walks in Illinois can see clear as day that our infrastructure is in a desperate state of disrepair. The longer we put this off, the worse it will be to eventually fund and fix it.”
Illinois has not had a major capital and infrastructure package since 2009. As a result, roads, bridges, and state buildings including schools have accrued a lot of deferred maintenance and damage. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Illinois a C- on their annual infrastructure report card, including a D for roads and transits. The number of state highways that needed repair grew from 2,560 miles in 2012 to 3,292 miles in 2017. By 2022, that number is expected to grow by another 2,000 miles. In addition, there are more than 660 bridges in less than acceptable condition right now in Illinois, including the I-80 bridge over the DesPlaines River. By 2022, that number is estimated to be over 1,000 bridges.
“The capital plan does contain additional sources of revenue, but it is necessary long-term sustainable funding that will help us avoid the peaks and valleys of intermittent funding, which leads to starts and stops on projects our communities are counting on.” McDermed continued, “Further, people who drive on our roads every day are paying for it, they just don’t realize it.”
A recent report from TRIP, a Washington based national transportation research group, found that the current state of our infrastructure cost Illinois motorists a total of $18.3 billion statewide annually due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays.
Rep McDermed continued, “as anyone knows, I loathe to raise taxes. In all my years in public service, I have never voted to raise them. However, if ever there was an element of our state worth investing in, it would be our crumbling roads and bridges. Illinois must remain a major hub for transportation.” According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, every $1 billion in infrastructure investment supports 13,000 jobs per year. “Most importantly, I’m willing to swallow some lumps if it means my constituents can feel safer driving along I-80.”