A state audit requested by State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in 2012 has revealed the Illinois Road Fund is being used for much more than upgrading the state’s physical infrastructure.
In May 2012, Senator Brady sponsored Senate Resolution 788, which called on Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland to take a closer look at the revenues to, and expenditures from the Illinois Road Fund, a fund that helps finance road and bridge construction.
“Illinois’ highway system is an integral part of our state’s infrastructure. It facilitates travel, commerce and tourism throughout the state,” said Brady. “I was concerned about the apparent lack of Road Fund dollars available for the state’s annual construction program as it became clear that funds were being diverted and used for purposes other than road construction and improvement. Clearly this audit was necessary to have a clear picture of the Road Fund, its revenues and its expenditures.”
The audit, released this week, confirmed Senator Brady’s concerns that a majority of Road Fund revenue has been spent on costs other than road construction. Alarmingly, it was discovered that less than half of Road Fund expenditures went for direct road construction in eight of the past 10 fiscal years. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on items for which the Road Fund is not typically responsible.
One of Senator Brady’s specific concerns in requesting the audit was that the Road Fund was being overcharged for State Employee Group Health Insurance (GHI). The audit found that in FY 2010 and FY 2011 the Road Fund was overcharged by a cumulative $156.6 million for GHI. Additionally, the fund was overcharged for workers’ compensation costs by a cumulative $54.2 million between FY 2010 and FY 2012.
The Road Fund accounts for the activities of the State highway programs, including highway maintenance and construction, traffic control and safety, and administration of the State’s motor vehicle laws and regulations. Funding sources for the Road Fund come from federal aid, transfers from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund, and various license and fee charges.
“The audit has confirmed my suspicions that the majority of revenue in the Road Fund has been used for purposes other than road construction. Ensuring a strong physical infrastructure is an integral part of putting Illinois back on track and the only way we can do that is to make sure that these funds are actually being used for their intended purpose,” said Brady.