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Coalition: Illinois Is Not Keeping Up Its Highways

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Road Closed

(Credit: AP)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Business and labor groups say Illinois is not keeping up its highways.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition says within five years, a quarter of the state roads will be in “unacceptable condition.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

The group wants Congress to approve a multi-year road and bridge and road spending plan to upgrade Illinois roads and create jobs, the Bloomington Pantagraph reported.

The focus is on downstate roads. The coalition says a six-year spending plan by Congress would help finance such projects as the replacement of the Interstate 74 bridge in the Quad Cities, and the widening of U.S. 51 south of Decatur, the Pantagraph reported.

So why weren’t better roads just built to begin with?

“You can go to certain nations where they’ve considered, ‘Oh, let’s build roads to 50-year standards.’ In this country, it’s typically 20-year standards,” said Linda Wheeler, a transportation consultant for the coalition. “But you could build roads to last way longer, but it would cost you so much that you might do a mile of road improvement a year.”

Wheeler used to work for the Illinois Department of Transportation as director of planning and programming.

The coalition also suggests Illinois lawmakers will want new and improved roads to talk about during their campaigns next year.

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