We need to invest more in road improvements

We are hearing that the state might pass a transportation capital program this year. I am fielding many questions and comments about what has been happening with the existing money.

Short answer for Illinois township roads? A lot less than we were able to do 19 years ago. Why? Township roads make up 49.5 percent of our Illinois public road system. They receive a percentage share of only motor fuel tax paid at the pump by motorists and collected by the state. The current percentage has been in place since Jan. 1, 2000; however, MFT itself has remained at 19 cents per gallon, with an additional 2.5 cents per gallon on diesel, since Jan. 1, 1990 - or for 29 years.

As a result, MFT to township roads has actually fallen from $98.6 Million in 2000 to $92.6 million in 2018, while traffic has increased substantially in volume, size and weight.

Costs to provide basic maintenance on township roads increased 139 percent from 2000 to 2014. MFT decreased 1.3 percent over that same period, meaning only 4.1 miles of township roads could be maintained in 2014 for every 10 miles maintained in 2000.

Reality is township roads are deteriorating back toward gravel and eventually, native earth. Generations before us invested heavily with their time, energy and, yes, money, to build the seamless network of public roads that benefit us today. We aren't investing enough to simply maintain them. What are we leaving for future generations?

Robert Czernek, Highway Commissioner

Bloomingdale Township

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