CDB warns agency cannot do its job without stopgap budget
Jodi Golden, executive director of the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB), said during a recent press conference that hundreds of construction projects have been abandoned since the budget impasse last year, and that a stopgap budget is the agency’s only lifeline.
“There are only two weeks left until the end of the fiscal year, and I’m here today to talk to you about the impact of the majority party not working with the governor on the Capital Development Board,” Golden said. “Due to the lack of our capital re-appropriations on Fiscal Year 2016, a year ago today, I had to send out ‘Stop Work’ letters to over 200 construction projects across the state.”
Golden said the projects range from vital school construction grants to veterans’ homes. Because such projects have stalled in the absence of adequate funding, many routine maintenance issues have escalated into critical concerns, she said. Additionally, without funding, the agency has limited ability to address unforeseen emergencies that may arise.
“This also means that our vital assets on our construction sites are sitting stagnant, exposed to the weather and other environmental and structural risks,” Golden said. “Additionally, we are incurring costs on those sites every day.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner had hoped state legislators would reach a compromise to release emergency funding last month. But on the last day of the legislative session, May 31, the stopgap funding bill didn’t even make it to the House floor for a vote.
The budget impasse is not only affecting CDB, it's affecting the agency’s committed partners – architects, engineers, contractors and suppliers – because projects that have been stalled for close to a year, Golden explained.
“For example, several of our mental health facilities across the state of Illinois have power and safety issues that need to be addressed, such as a backup generator at the Alton mental health facility,” she said.
In addition, the state has spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on temporary measures at construction sites such as temporary heating and cooling at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
“The sad truth is without a stopgap budget funding bill, we won’t be able to pay for the necessary projects to fix our correctional facilities, our universities, and our veterans’ homes,” Golden said. “Our job at CDB is to address critical capital projects and capital needs across the state from Chicago to Cairo, and without funding we cannot do our jobs.”
The lack of funding also affects the jobs of people in Illinois. As the construction management agency for the state, CDB oversees the construction of new state facilities, such as prisons, college and university classroom buildings, mental health hospitals and state parks. CDB is also responsible for renovating the 8,771 state-owned buildings across Illinois.
“CDB needs a stopgap bill passed so we can restart these construction projects and put Illinois workers back to work. The majority party needs to put politics aside and put the people of Illinois first,” Golden said. “I really urge the General Assembly to please come back to Springfield, put the stopgap funding bill to a vote. This is a solution that’s funded, it’s able to put these construction projects back to work immediately and avoid missing yet another summer construction season.”