Snapshot: Appropriation & Staffing Changes from 2023 Budget

2023 Budgeted2024 ProposedNet ChangePercent Change
Appropriations$1,399,244,996$1,480,240,225$80,995,2295.8%
Positions & FTEs15391592533.44%

Departmental Highlights

  • CDOT’s budget has more than tripled since 2020, driven by a more than billion dollar increase in grant-funded construction spending. Since 2022, and continuing in the proposed 2024 budget, CDOT is the second-largest department in terms of overall appropriations.
  • CDOT’s construction budget is grant funded, rather than being appropriated from the city’s corporate fund. The recent construction appropriation increases are primarily driven by increases in the city’s IDOT transportation funds, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Surface Transportation Program, and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grants, as well as the new Rebuild Illinois pandemic relief program.
  • Headcount is up a net 53 positions, predominantly driven by a 48-position increase in the Division of In-House Construction.
  • The department significantly increased its motor truck driver positions, up a net 34 positions after accounting for title changes. The 2024 budget proposal also added 10 additional hoisting engineer positions.
  • The grant-funded construction appropriation is by far CDOT’s largest single-category expense, with over $1.1 billion in the proposed 2024 budget, making up roughly three-quarters of the entire departmental budget. Salaries and wages on payroll, the next-largest category, is a little over one-tenth the size of the construction appropriation, at $154.7 million.
  • Outside contracting via the professional and technical services appropriation saw the largest increase in CDOT’s 2024 budget proposal, more than tripling from the previous year to $118.3 million. 

Historical Context

For most of the previous decade CDOT was the third-most expensive city department, following the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Aviation. A series of large budget increases beginning in 2021, largely driven by a billion-dollar increase in budgeted construction spending, roughly tripled the department’s appropriation over three years. Since 2022, and continuing in the proposed 2024 budget, CDOT is the second-largest department in terms of overall appropriations.

CDOT’s construction budget is grant funded, rather than being appropriated from the city’s corporate fund. The recent construction appropriation increases are primarily driven by increases in the city’s IDOT transportation funds, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Surface Transportation Program, and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grants, as well as the new Rebuild Illinois pandemic relief program.

From 2011-2023, the department budget grew at an average rate of 9.2% per year, largely due to double-digit growth rates from 2021 onwards. Departmental budgets overall increased an average of 5.9% per year over the same time period, while the total city budget including Finance General appropriations grew at an average rate of 8.2% annually.

CDOT’s budgeted workforce grew at a rate of roughly 4.4% annually from 2011-2023, making it among the fastest-growing departments, largely due to higher growth rates from 2021-2023.

Staffing

Headcount is up a net 53 positions, predominantly driven by a 48-position increase in the Division of In-House Construction:

The department significantly increased its motor truck driver positions, up a net 34 positions after accounting for title changes. The 2024 budget proposal also added 10 additional hoisting engineer positions.

Appropriations

Largest Appropriations

The grant-funded construction appropriation is by far CDOT’s largest single-category expense, with over $1.1 billion in the proposed 2024 budget. 

Salaries and wages on payroll, the next-largest category, is a little over one-tenth the size of the construction appropriation, at $154.7 million. 

Change from Previous Year

Outside contracting via the professional and technical services appropriation saw the largest increase in CDOT’s 2024 budget proposal, more than tripling from the previous year to $118.3 million. 

The construction of buildings and structures appropriation was down 5% from the previous year, a reduction of roughly $59 million. 

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Geoffrey Cubbage is a policy and budget analyst focusing on the Illinois General Assembly and Chicago's City Council. Prior to joining the Better Government Association in 2022, Geoffrey served as Director...