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Illinois Employment & Jobs, Illinois Transportation

Congressional Dithering on Highway Bill Jeopardizes 129,014 Illinois Jobs, New Study Says


(Chicago, IL) — March 29, 2011. As partisan bickering continues on Capitol Hill, the failure to pass necessary federal legislation that provides multi-year federal aid to state highway and transit programs jeopardizes 129,014 jobs in Illinois, according to new research.

This employment includes the equivalent of 64,270 full-time jobs directly involved in transportation construction and related activities, and 64,743 that are sustained by transportation design and construction industry employee and company spending throughout the state’s economy, according to the analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation.

Currently, these employees earn a total annual payroll of $7.0 billion and contribute an estimated $589.6 million in state and federal payroll tax revenue, according to the report.

Addtionally, the report, “U.S. Transportation Construction Industry Profile,” revealed the existence of more than 3,377,090 full-time jobs in Illinois in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing that are dependent on the state’s transportation network.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, Illinois has 139,491 miles of roadway.  Of the state’s 35,113 miles of roadway eligible for federal aid, 16.1% are rated “not acceptable” and need major repairs or replacement.  This compares to 17.6% of roads in 2007.

Illinois also has 26,263 bridges.  Of these, 15.9% are either “structurally deficient” (2,373 bridges) or “functionally obsolete” (1,792 bridges).  It will cost an estimated $12.2 billion to make needed bridge repairs on 3,532 structures in the state.

The last highway and transit law expired in October 2009.  Federal aid to the states has been sustained ever since through a series of short-term extensions.

The uncertainty of future funding levels is causing state transportation departments to slow down or delay projects, and in turn, impacting hiring decisions and equipment purchases by transportation design and construction firms, the roadbuilders group claims.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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