Bill would prevent highway crews from doing contract work in other Illinois counties

(The Center Square) – Legislation in Springfield would prevent highway crews from one county being contracted out to other counties.

Senate Bill 895 would amend the Illinois Highway Code and provide that a county cannot construct, improve or repair a road or transportation-related project that is outside the county’s borders.

In some cases, counties enter into an agreement to share duties and equipment, including snow removal. State Rep. Greg Johnson, D-Rock Island, said this legislation does not affect those agreements.

“It prevents counties from becoming private contractors in other counties and has the work performed by union labor contractors that exists within those counties,” Johnson said.

During debate on the House floor, state Rep. Martin McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills, said Illinois counties know how and where to spend their tax money and the state shouldn’t get involved.

“Local taxing bodies understand much better what their needs are than the state of Illinois, so I will have to be a no at this time, and I would urge a no vote so that local control and authority still rules the roost when it comes to the best use of the taxpayer dollar,” McLaughlin said.

The bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly and is ready to be sent to the governor for his signature.

A recent study by the Reason Foundation found that Illinois roads, particularly downstate, are in rough shape. The study ranked Illinois 44th in the condition of rural roads.

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