WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Illinois Road Money Not Paying for Roads

May 15, 2013

The Illinois Road Fund aggregates billions of dollars every year to build and repair highways, but a new report from Illinois' auditor general said more than half the money is going for employee salaries and benefits as well as paying off bonds.

Credit Rich Egger

The audit found several problems with how the Road Fund kept track of spending for employee health insurance.

One state employee was responsible for calculating those expenses. When the auditors asked several government agencies how they arrived at insurance cost figures — they couldn't answer.

As for the employee in question, he is no longer with state government.

Auditor General Bill Holland believes it is OK to empower employees to make decisions — within limits.

“In this case, what you had was nobody who could say how we empowered them, or why we empowered them, or 'Yes, these are the parameters we gave them to work under.' And I think that's problematic,” Holland said.

One such problem: the Road Fund once covered the salaries of State Police and some personnel in the Secretary of State's office. That was changed in law, but the Road Fund kept paying for health insurance for those workers for two years — a diversion of more than $150 million.