SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers are sitting on $675 million which could be used for road projects. It wouldn't cost taxpayers anything. But, if lawmakers don't decide how to use it soon, it could go to waste. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has more.
Lawmakers need to make a decision in the next few weeks. It's so contracts can go out in March. If they don't act quickly, some workers could lose out on jobs.
We've all been stuck here. For most people, orange cones are a traffic nightmare. But, for Charles Davis, they mean a paycheck.
"Most of our work is highway work."
He's been in road construction for five years. But, he's worried this summer he might not have a job.
"If we can't work, we can't pay bills."
That's because lawmakers haven't approved extra funding to fix highways and roads around the state. There's nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars waiting to be spent.
"We're looking forward to this work. We need to get back to work."
Some are federal dollars and the rest is left over from other road projects.
"We have the extra money. There's no extra fees or taxes. This is money that's available. We just need to appropriate it."
Some argue the money would be better spent fixing the state's massive debt, but, by law, the money can only be used for one thing. And, the clock is ticking.
"If we pass this right away, the General Assembly can pass bids this spring and put people to work this summer."
Otherwise, "If we don't pass this, we can't use the money until next year. We want jobs now."
"We have six or seven months out of the year to earn our living, weather permitting. So, if we can get out there, the sooner, the better."
Union members for road workers say, last year, they were hit hard with layoffs. The money could help make up the difference.