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Some road projects may be pushed to 2021 due to pandemic

June 22, 2016 photo, road construction crews work to build a four lane highway on Route 29 in Edinburg, Ill. The first question on Illinois ballots on Nov. 8 election isn't for president, senator or comptroller, but a constitutional amendment geared toward preventing transportation-related funding from being used elsewhere. Backers include unions and the construction industry. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman File)

Road construction crews build a four-lane highway on Route 29 in Edinburg, Illinois, in 2016. (AP File Photo/Seth Perlman)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Some Illinois road construction projects scheduled to be completed this year could be delayed until next year because of lower-than-expected gas-tax revenues during the coronavirus pandemic.

State Transportation Department Secretary Omer Osman said the department hasn’t yet assessed how many projects might be pushed back, the (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported. He told lawmakers during a Senate Transportation Committee hearing Thursday that the department will prioritize projects related to safety improvements.

“I can’t afford to lose a bridge, but I could live with a little bit of potholes,” Osman said.

Gas tax revenues used to fund road projects were much lower than originally projected because people are driving less during the pandemic, Osman said.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, from March through June of this year, motor fuel tax revenues are down $82 million from the same period last year.

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