- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois transportation officials are making stops in multiple communities in coming weeks to talk about the condition of the state’s roads.

State Department of Transportation Secretary Randall Blankenhorn said in a news release Tuesday that roadways and other infrastructure are “beginning to deteriorate and in need of investment.”

The tour was announced Tuesday by the Department of Transportation. The department said initial stops would be detailed in the coming days. The meetings with transportation officials and the Illinois Capital Development Board would focus on getting feedback on infrastructure needs from local officials, residents and businesses.

“The time to rethink our transportation goals and priorities is now,” Blakenhorn said. “Inaction is no longer an option.”

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers (https://bit.ly/1bpEJu2 ) reports Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called for a new construction program to improve roads, with a $31 billion road program expiring. The Department of Transportation said it hopes to make recommends to Rauner this spring based on what’s learned in the tour.

A new construction program is backed by an organization made up of business and labor groups called the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.

Rauner has not said much about how the state should fund a new road construction program. He has called for reforming laws on workers’ compensation and collective bargaining to reduce construction costs.

The current road program, approved by former Gov. Pat Quinn, was paid for with higher taxes on alcohol and license plates, as well as funds raised through the legalization of video gambling.

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