Momentum strong to amend the Illinois constitution and protect transportation funding - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Momentum strong to amend the Illinois constitution and protect transportation funding

Flickr user Brook Ward (cc)

Funding we collect for transportation should be protected and spent only on transportation.

A proposed constitutional amendment in the Illinois General Assembly would protect taxes and fees collected for transportation and dedicate that money to transportation-related spending. As we face a $43 billion deficit in maintaining and investing in our state's transportation network, we need to be sure that any money we collect for transportation is actually spent on transportation. This constitutional amendment would create a "lockbox" to do just that.

Meeting our $43 billion need will require new or additional revenue. Raising taxes or fees is never easy, but knowing that the revenue will be protected and dedicated to the right purpose makes it more palatable. In a statewide poll we conducted in 2015, three out of four Illinoisans were somewhat or very doubtful that the gas tax they pay is actually spent on transportation. Half of those we polled said they would feel better about paying more if the money went into a dedicated fund.

The resolution passed the House overwhelmingly (98 yays, 4 nays, 2 present) on April 22, 2016. If approved by the Senate with a three-fifths vote, the amendment would be up for the public to approve on the November ballot. A similar amendment in Wisconsin was approved by 80 percent of voters in 2014.

Tell your state senator to pass this amendment and preserve transportation dollars for transportation projects. You can look up your state senator using this Ill. State Board of Elections resource.

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