During the elections the people who live in Illinois saw a new amendment proposal on their ballots. The government of the state suggests to secure all the funds aimed on any process connected with transportation. It means that the money saved won’t be spent on any other needs not related to transport.
If the amendment is adopted, the government will put the money in a “lockbox” without transferring it to other purposes, like the balancing of the budget. The Safe Roads Amendment was supported by the cooperation of labor, business, and construction communities. The suggestion was approved to be printed on the ballots after the legislature of Illinois accepted it.
The idea is also supported by the Chamber of Commerce, as its CEO Todd Maisch stated in one of the interviews. He said that the Safe Roads Amendment is important as it will reestablish the people’s trust in the right spending of the taxes they are paying. Besides that, there will be always spare funds on urgent repairs of the transportation system, which is essential for the Illinoisans’ everyday life.
Since 2003, about $6.8 billion has been spent for other needs than the roads maintenance. As a result, nowadays Illinois has every 1 in 3 miles and 1 in 10 bridges labeled as unacceptable for usage. Last year at least $500 million from the Road Fund was spend for other needs, which makes the Safe Road Amendment vital.
Those Illinoisans who support the idea state that the condition of the transportation infrastructure of the area is terrible, so the government can’t afford any more fund diverting. The US Transportation Department also gives the information that Illinois, in pair with Connecticut, are the two states with the worst road condition. About 73% of the roads of Illinois are in mediocre to bad shape. Also, 16% of bridges of the state are also inappropriate for usage.
Safe Roads Amendment has one more supporter organization – the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting. Marc Poulos, the executive director of the foundation, explained the economic necessity for the amendment adoption.
He said that the well-planed construction projects keep the employment rate higher. During the decade, more than 5,000 jobs were lost due to the fund diverting. Besides, an average driver loses about $440 every year for vehicle repairs necessary because of the poor condition of the roads. And even more money is spent on fuel to go through the crowded roads that still function well.
There are also critics of the amendment, including the Chicago Tribune. It states that creating a lockbox for transportation funds will eliminate the possibility of spending money for basic human needs. The financial condition of the state leaves much to be desired, according to the Tribune. If even in a disastrous condition the government won’t have the possibility of transferring the money on other basic needs, it would be highly illogical, it says.
As about 30 states have already implemented the amendments that protect transportation funds, Illinois is also expected to approve the idea. The government needs 60% and more voters to say yes to the Safe Roads Amendment for it to be implemented.