By Maresa Strano
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: A recent report from the Illinois Auditor General shows that approximately a quarter of the state road fund went to the Illinois Department of Transportation over the last decade. The remaining money was spent covering expenses from other Illinois government agencies, such as underwriting secretary of state salaries and state police, according to auditor William Holland. Both agencies have "highway-related responsibilities," and thanks to an ambiguous spending policy regarding the road fund--derived mainly from the federal government, motorist user fees and motor fuel taxes--they were able to siphon money intended for construction projects. State Senator Bill Brady (R) sponsored the resolution behind the ambitious review, which necessitated for the first time the development of a standard definition of "what constituted direct road construction costs."
"It’s really sorry to see that half the money that’s supposed to be going to rebuild roads, which creates jobs and provides for public safety, is being swept away to other areas," Brady said in response to the May 14 audit report's revelation that in eight of the last ten fiscal years, under 50% of money allocated to the state road fund went toward direct road construction costs.
Among other statistics the auditors determined, the state road fund was overcharged $54 million more in workers’ compensation costs over a three year span, and by $156 million for employee group health insurance over the 2010-2011 fiscal years.