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IDOT Rolls Out 6-Year, $20.7 Billion Plan to Rebuild Illinois

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Gas Tax Revenues, Pandemic Relief Dollars to Fund Revenue Stream

By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

Despite fewer miles traveled during the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in reduced motor fuel tax revenues, Illinois will see more than $20 billion allocated during FY 2022-2027 toward constructing and rehabbing the state’s roads, bridges, passenger rail and pedestrian walkways.

Of the total $353 million received by The Illinois Dept. of Transportation from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, $227 million will fund the state’s highway program. The remainder will be added to the FY 2022 annual highway program and a future multi-year program. Additional funding for Rebuild Illinois is coming from a 19-cent, per-gallon increase in gas taxes, a 5-cent, per-gallon increase in diesel fuel taxes, $50 to $100 increases in annual vehicle registrations and – starting in July – a five-year phase-in of state sales tax on motor fuels.

Civil engineering design firm EFK Moen, LLC Co-Owner Linda Moen says legislators’ work to supply a more stable funding stream for transportation construction, rather than relying on bonded indebtedness as is often a reality, is a welcome solution.

“A lot of times, with capital programs the (transportation) funding comes from general revenue or the work is bonded, meaning it takes away from other priorities,” Moen said. “Legislators worked in a truly bipartisan manner to make this happen. They’re to be commended.”

Illinois’ new multi-year plan is expected to rebuild more than 2,700 miles of roads and nearly 8 million square feet of bridges. Additional investments under the FY 2022-2027 plan include: $5.79 billion for highway reconstruction and preservation, $4.82 billion for bridge improvements, $2.59 billion for strategic expansion, $1.43 billion for system support such as engineering and land acquisition and $1.21 billion for safety and system modernizations.

For more details on the IDOT multi-year plan, see https://idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/transportation-management/transportation-improvement-programs-/multi-modal-transportation-improvement-program/index.

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MoDOT Asks Business Stakeholders for Input on State’s Rail and Freight Plan

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

MoDOT Waterways and Freight Administrator Cheryl Ball is asking freight owners, shippers, truckers and other stakeholders for input as the agency writes its 2021 combined rail and freight infrastructure plan.

For the first time ever, MoDOT is crafting a 5-year strategic plan that includes both rail and freight. The most recent rail plan was drafted in 2012, and the latest freight plan was completed in 2014. Ball says it makes sense to combine both plans into one to best serve business and industry stakeholders.

“One plan makes sense in terms of interpreting the data and in harnessing the expertise of our stakeholders in the most efficient way,” Ball said. “We’re seeking input from all stakeholders – in Missouri, regionally and across the U.S. – as to how we can continually make operational improvements to make our transportation infrastructure as safe and certain as possible for those whose businesses depend upon reliable, predictable routes and schedules.”

Rail traffic comprises 50 percent of all the freight traffic in Missouri, according to Ball, while truck traffic also comprises 49 percent to 50 percent. Water, air and pipeline together comprise less than 2 percent of all statewide freight traffic.

“Interstate 70 is one focus of our plan,” she said. “For example, trucking industry stakeholders told us that if there’s a crash on I-70 in the rural parts of Missouri, there’s not an escape route. That makes the route subject to a lot of uncertainty in terms of the projected time to carry goods to their destination. We’re looking at work we can do to improve emergency ramps in locations where frequent crashes occur. Operational efficiency strategies are a big part of making our major trucking routes not only safe but also dependable.”

Another example of work with industry stakeholders, says Ball, are communications strategies to ensure that transportation stakeholders are aware, weeks ahead of time, if they need to reroute due to anticipated road projects such as the I-270 reconstruction. “Shippers want to know that if they route a truck through this corridor, is it going to add 45 minutes, two hours or four hours to their time estimate,” Ball said. “Particularly for warehouse and distribution stakeholders, traveling from city to city might be reliable but traveling those last few miles, exiting the interstate to their destination, can wreak havoc with their projected schedules. A major goal of our integrated rail and freight plan is to make changes and improvements that lessen these uncertainties for businesses whose livelihoods rely upon infrastructural and operational efficiency.”

Business and industry members interested in providing input to MoDOT toward its 2021 rail and freight plan are encouraged to contact the agency via https://www.modot.org/contact-information. Trucking companies are also encouraged to take the latest Missouri truck parking survey at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/079af1bb10154a3da76c8853da10481b/

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