Cost overrun of $15.4 million projected for Brush College Rd. project
As recently as May 4, the cost of the Brush College / Faries Parkway Grade Separation Project was estimated at $41.3 million. The project is now expected to cost $56.7 million (37% increase) as detailed in information distributed in advance of the Monday, August 31 Decatur City Council study session.
Based on the documentation, city staff will be seeking additional funding, however, the $15.4 million in additional costs is currently proposed to use city funds. Thus, the project has gone from using an estimated $2.3 million in city funds (i.e., state motor fuel tax revenue) to $17.7 million in city funds. Given that revenue from state motor fuel tax ranged from $1.94 to $1.95 million in 2017-2019 and was projected to be $3.2 million in 2020, it is not feasible for the city’s state motor fuel tax revenue to cover the cost increase.
IN ORDER TO FUND BRUSH COLLEGE RD. PROJECT, CITY PROPOSES USING FUNDS ALLOCATED TO TRANSPORATION IMPROVEMENTS IN URBAN CORE
Using state motor fuel tax revenue is a reasonable approach for the city to contribute to large-scale infrastructure projects. With that said, there may be other projects in the city for which state motor fuel tax revenue could be used that are of a higher priority for our citizens.
In the documentation the council received, the city proposes to petition IDOT to take $1.5 million in funding to improve the intersection of Wood St. and MLK Jr. Dr. and reallocate it to the Brush College Rd. project. Given neighborhood revitalization is the city’s number one priority it is critical for the city to move forward in improving infrastructure in the urban core.
BRUSH COLLEGE RD. PROJECT INCLUDES LARGE AMOUNTS OF FUNDING FROM INTERGOVERNMENTAL SOURCES
According to council documentation, the Brush College / Faries Parkway Grade Separation Project includes “a bridge elevating north and south bound Brush College Road traffic over Faries Parkway, the construction of an interchange, the relocation of an electric sub-station and several adjacent businesses, and adjustments to the rail lines of two Class One railroad companies with trackage adjacent to the intersection, and substantial land acquisition.” Other sources of funding for the project are expected to come from freight funds ($25 million), Illinois Jobs Now! funds ($2 million), and ICC funds ($12 million).
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