FILE - Road construction, infrastructure

As Illinois gears up to send out more than $45 billion in infrastructure spending, a new report found the state spent far more per mile of roadway than most other states in the nation.

Illinois spent $143,606, on average, per mile of roadway in 2016. That’s according to the Reason Foundation’s analysis of federal highway data. That’s more than nearly every other state in the U.S. However, it was far less than New Jersey, which spent more than $500,000 per mile. 

Baruch Feigenbaum, Reason's assistant director of transportation policy, said that Illinois was good at keeping administrative costs low, but the cost of capital and bridge spending was high. 

“Illinois is doing a pretty decent job on its administrative costs, but it’s spending a lot per mile on its bridge disbursements,” he said.

Illinois’ administrative costs, averaging less than $4,000 per mile, was below than the national average.

The likely reason for the high total disbursement in Illinois was labor costs. Those costs can partly be attributed to the state's high prevailing wage rates, Feigenbaum said. However, there were some other states with lower wage rates, such as Florida, that spent more per linear mile. 

“It’s definitely not the worst that I’ve seen, but it’s definitely a likely factor, especially with new construction,” Feigenbaum said. 

The state’s spending on road maintenance was around $16,000 per mile, just above the national average.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.