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County to See State-Funded Road Improvements

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY-- Champaign County Board member Max Mitchell says, "Any work at all is good for the county. It brings jobs to the community, and it's helpful for people who are in the construction business, so that's a real benefit." Starting this spring, nearly 10 million dollars of state money will be spent on various road improvements in Champaign County.

Mike Kirchhoff, who runs the Economic Development Corporation, sees the improvement projects as a benefit to the county regardless of who leads them. "These construction jobs are beneficial to the community because, although the companies doing the work might not necessarily be local, for the period of time they're working on the construction projects, those workers are going to be staying in Champaign County and they're going to be eating in Champaign County and there will be other spending associated with them being in the county."

Darlene Kloeppel is a Community Services Director at the Regional Planning Commission, and says, "Funding will purchase labor and materials (which in turn will pay for jobs at materials suppliers). So it will definitely help our local economy. However in terms of roads, $9.8 million is not a huge amount."

Still she adds, even though the road improvement projects are temporary, they are still important, and for industries like construction, seasonal work is the norm.

Experts say any extra work is good for the economy. Says Kirchhoff, "As there's more money expended in the community, that's more money local businesses have to spend. I think that rolls through the community and recirculates over time, so anything additive like that is a real benefit to the community; to the county."

Adam Rife reporting