Road Crews Say Additional State Funds Only A Fraction Of Cost To Fix Roads
Updated: Monday, April 21 2014, 11:20 PM CDT
Millions of dollars is heading to highway departments for infrastructure repairs. Governor Quinn has announced $100 million in funding for highway departments across the state.
This past winter is still proving costly for many road crews. Potholes remain a huge problem and funds seem to be running dry. As we told you last week, highway departments are hopeful for increased funding.
Officials say the latest help from the state doesn't seem to be enough.
Potholes are still getting in the way of a smooth ride for drivers. Weeks after spring has sprung, the state is trying to patch things up. Governor Quinn is giving $100 million to highway departments to help with costly road repairs.
"Every penny helps. A half million dollars we are very fortunate to get it, receive it, we put it in to MFT. It goes very quickly with all the demands that we have," said Director of Springfield Public Works, Mark Mahoney.
The MFT, or Motor Fuel Tax Fund, is used for maintenance work, but the more than $500,000 Springfield Public Works is getting will barely make a dent in patching up all of those potholes that riddle our roadways.
Still, so many roads need major upgrades.
"We know there are roads out there that need modernization There are still roads on the east side of town that are oil and chip roads, or your country roads. They need to be expanded and put storm sewers in certain areas," said Mahoney.
To help fund large projects cities like Springfield often apply for grants.
"The city was actually one of very few people across the country to receive a TIGER grant of about $14 million for the Carpenter Street and 10th Street relocation project," said Mahoney.
But for smaller departments, like Clear Lake Township, grants are nearly unheard of.
"We have done some small grants like the lighting system we have in the garage now, we did a small grant, but that was through Ameren," said Road Commissioner, Alex Lyons.
Lyons admits the size of the Clear Lake Road Department puts him at a disadvantage. His crew maintains about 60 miles of roadways, that means they qualify for fewer state funds. The state provided the department with just over $13,000 for road repairs.
"It will help a little bit, but in the main scheme of things it's a drop in the bucket," said Lyons.
In fact, upstate highway departments near Chicago took home $60 million of Quinn's $100 million. Lyons hopes one day some of that money will be heading this way.
"I know we don't have the miles of road that they do, but we are taxpayers just like Chicago," said Lyons.
Road Commissioner Alex Lyons says it's unexpected problems, like water main breaks, that hurt his departments budget the most.
This past winter was also no help since they used a near record amount of salt.
Small highway departments say there is little they can do to increase revenue, other than raising taxes. With increased costs and less revenue, some road repairs have been put on hold.