Monday, Dec. 1


Road fund diversions negatively impact material suppliers and workers    Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 1, 2003]  SPRINGFIELD -- Southern Illinois has been hit just as hard as central Illinois where road fund diversions are concerned, according to state Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield. Bomke attended the second hearing of the Senate Republican Task Force on Transportation, in Robinson, and learned that the impact on jobs and economic development in southern Illinois is just as prevalent downstate as it is locally.

"Through both hearings we have confirmed that the diversion of road funds affects jobs and the economy," said Bomke. "We have lost jobs in construction and in transportation-related industries, and the problem will only get worse as the state continues to divert money from road construction to other areas of the budget."

Road fund diversions are already taking their toll on construction industry jobs. Area contractors and material producers are already feeling the loss of road construction dollars in downstate communities.

Alan Shoemaker with Vulcan Materials testified that the loss of construction work has translated into a "trickle-down effect" on customers and employees. For the first time in its history, the company, which operates facilities throughout Illinois, has had to lay off employees during peak construction season. Already, the company has suspended operations at its Lincoln facility due to lack of construction materials needed for the area.

Tom Kidwell with Howell Asphalt out of Mattoon expects to hire 100 fewer union employees next summer.

John Kavanaugh with Ambraw Asphalt echoed Kidwell's concerns. His company employs 16 full-time union employees and 24 union employees during peak construction time. He fears the loss of road fund monies will affect his company's ability to keep those jobs and for those employees to find other work locally. "If we aren't paying these 24 individuals, there is nowhere for them to go," Kavanaugh said.


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Bomke is a chief sponsor of legislation (Senate Bill 2099) to return the funds diverted during this past budget cycle.

Reinstatement of the rolling stock exemption has also caused some concerns for transportation companies throughout Illinois. Bomke is also a sponsor of legislation (Senate Bill 2101) that will reinstate the crucial tax credit for trucking companies.

As a result of the tax imposed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly in July, many trucking companies have made plans to leave Illinois.

Ron Hancock with Hancock Carrier of Olney testified that he is making plans to headquarter his company in Wyoming. Many other trucking companies are moving to Iowa, Missouri and Indiana, after those states have actively pursued trucking companies to leave Illinois and take advantage of tax-friendly laws concerning trucking companies in adjacent states.

The committee also heard testimony from Tom Dersch with Desrch Energies in Mount Carmel on the impact of higher gas taxes on petroleum business in Illinois. Gas taxes feed into the state's road fund.

A final hearing will be in Des Plaines at City Hall, 1420 Miner St., on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 10 a.m.

[News release from Sen. Larry Bomke]

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