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Blagojevich Proposes Smaller Road Budget


Springfield, Ill. – Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was in Collinsville Monday to announce the newest five-year plan for road construction projects in the state.

He's proposing $1.7 billion in projects for next year to maintain and improve the state's roads and bridges. That's a significant drop from the $2.3 billion being spent this fiscal year, which ends June 30th.

The governor says Illinois would have liked to invest more money in the road program, but the state's financial crisis makes that impossible.

The $1.7 billion proposed for next year is part of a five-year, $7.4 billion dollar plan, which would fund improvements for 2,300 miles of roads and repairs to or replacement of more than 570 bridges.

The proposal includes money for the Metro-East area, including:

- $82.9 million over the next five years to reconstruct the interchange at three interstate routes in East St. Louis.

- $37.4 million to take Interstate 64 from Illinois 157 to Lincoln Trail at O'Fallon in St. Clair County. The project includes the construction of the additional lanes to continue the six-lane section 6.4 miles to O'Fallon.

- $12.8 million to buy land and plan a new Mississippi River Bridge to connect St. Louis with the Metro-East.

Missouri and Illinois are sharing the engineering costs for contract plans. Planners are also hoping for federal funds.

(The location of the new Mississippi River bridge is being coordinated with the relocation of Illinois 3 from Venice to Sauget/Cahokia and the Interstates 55/64/70 Tri-Level reconstruction in East St. Louis)

- $37 million to help reopen the McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River.