Road construction could wind up at dead end

By Kelsey Gibbs |

Published 07/15 2014 04:01PM

Updated 07/15 2014 06:17PM

ILLINOIS -- Money for federal road projects could run out in two weeks, leaving thousands without jobs and road work unfinished. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs talks with members of a local union and explains why they're urging Congress to act now.

"The roads are getting worse everyday. They need work. We need work."

Shannon Brickey has been a member of the Local Engineer Union for 17 years. Working on the roads is how he makes his living.

"My only income, along with, like I said, thousands of other people out there that have families to feed."

But, by this time next month, he could be without a job.

"It's a very scary thought because there's thousands of families that rely on that."

If the Highway Trust Fund runs out, hundreds of state construction jobs, like the one here in Sherman, will close. Not just that. Thousands of union workers will be without jobs.

"You will see 70% of those road project being affected at the time of season when it's crucial that they be able to be out there working."

According to the White House, nearly 30,000 jobs could be lost and nearly 4,000 construction projects delayed or put on hold.

"And this is the peak of our construction industry. The next four months probably make over half the income for an operating engineer or laborer or truck driver."

Brickey says it's a scary thought.

"Then we're going to have to rely on unemployment, you know, I mean, and the unemployment, it's a gamble. Are you going to get a federal extension or not?"

The Highway Trust Fund supports 75% of five-year transportation spending in the state. Local union workers have sent a letter to Congress asking members to find ways to restore funding before the August 1 deadline.

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