Illinois at a standstill while other states move on more transportation funding - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Illinois at a standstill while other states move on more transportation funding

Today, legislation in six states to raise the motor fuel tax will take effect. Legislators in these states voted to raise the gas tax because they know paying a little extra at the pump will make their constituents’ lives easier—with better roads that will improve traffic congestion, safer bridges and more reliable transit—and make their states more attractive to business.

States where gas taxes will increase on July 1, 2015

State

Cent per gallon increase on July 1, 2015

Idaho

7

Passed in 2015

Georgia

6.7

Passed in 2015

Maryland

1.8

Inflationary increase based on legislation passed in 2013

Rhode Island

1

Inflationary increase based on legislation passed in 2014

Nebraska

0.5

Tax varies based on price per barrel

Vermont

0.35

Tax varies based on price per barrel

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

These aren’t the only states who took action in 2015. Both Iowa and South Dakota passed legislation to raise their gas taxes this year by 10 and 6 cents per gallon respectively, laws already in effect. Further, the Utah legislature voted to raise the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon and in Nebraska, lawmakers overcame Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto to increase the rate by 6 cents per gallon. Both will take effect in January 2016.

Right now Illinois drivers pay only $8.25 a month through the state gas tax for the upkeep of our transportation network.

That’s it, less than you’ll likely spend on today’s lunch. The Illinois motor fuel tax, which is a major source of our state's road and transit construction funding, has remained at 19 cents per gallon since 1991. Because it hasn't changed to keep up with inflation, the revenues from this tax are now worth about half of what they once were. The result? Even when taking into account other sources of transportation funding, such as highway tolls and transit fares, the share of our state budget that we've invested in transportation has fallen considerably over the past 20 years.

Other states are leaving Illinois in the dust by investing in transportation improvements to be more attractive to businesses and improve their resident’s everyday lives—while Illinois remains in a constant state of frustration because of legislative inaction. And that inaction is costing you—the tire you had to replace from hitting a pothole, the fuel you burn by sitting in traffic—you pay an extra $540 per vehicle every year because our roads are so poorly maintained. Yes, nobody likes paying more taxes, but it’s cheaper to pay a few more pennies per gallon now than $500 when you break an axle later.

It’s not rocket science. We know what to fix, we just need to do it. Add your name to the growing list of Illinois residents letting our leaders in Springfield know that we are committed to improving our transportation system. Join the Accelerate Illinois campaign today!

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