Prairie State Wire

Prairie State Wire

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Illinois’ construction industry remains on shaky ground a decade after recession


By Glenn Minnis | Dec 13, 2019

Oak Park Village Trustee Jim Dodge

Oak Park Village Trustee Jim Dodge wants to renew voters' faith in the future of Illinois so they are more likely to join the fight to rebuild a failing state government.

“As we’ve seen in other states, when there is enough demand for something, things can change quickly,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire. “I think Illinois has a lot going for it, and what both sides need now is to focus on restoring the faith and trust of people by moving toward real-world solutions.”

With things being as off-track as they are, Dodge said it’s no wonder that Illinois’ recovery from the Great Recession has lagged behind virtually every other state in the region. lllinois Policy Institute reports that the state’s economy has expanded by just 14.7 percent over the last decade, compared to a rate of 21.9 percent for the rest of the Great Lakes region and a 25.7-percent clip for the entire U.S.  

In no industry is the struggle more apparent than construction, where output is down 2.1 percent since then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed a $31 billion capital spending bill into law in 2009. By comparison, U.S. construction output is up by an average of more than 16 percent over that same time period.

“Until people start believing again in the future of Illinois, you’re going to continue to see things like this happen,” Dodge said. “To put it in politics-speak, what we need is thoughtful, bipartisan legislation that’s aimed at real-life solutions.”

Dodge says he is still optimistic the state can get to where it needs to be, but quickly adding, “No one wants to have to wait forever.”

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