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Less than half of the Illinois Road Fund actually used for road projects

A new audit says Illinois' Road Fund overpaid for employee health insurance. More than 150-million dollars that should have gone for road construction was diverted. IPR’S Brian Mackey has more.
The Road Fund collects fees, taxes and federal money and is supposed to spend it on building and maintaining highways. But a report from Illinois' auditor general found that less than half the money was actually going for such projects. The majority went to pay off bonds and to fund salaries and other benefits.

In addition to Transportation Department workers, the Road Fund paid salaries for the Illinois State Police and some employees of the Secretary of State's office. That changed in 2009, except that one person, literally one person, did not get the memo. So road money kept paying for those workers' health insurance.

On top of that, Auditor General Bill Holland says neither the state agencies involved nor the governor's budget office could explain how the insurance costs were calculated over the last 10 years.

"I think that's a telling statement in and of itself, in that the management of government was unaware of how some of these significant financial decisions were being reached."

Holland says he can only presume the Road Fund insurance overpayment went to cover other workers in state government.