Business Leaders Propose Increased Gas Tax For Road Repairs
Advocates for infrastructure investment want to raise the gas tax to fix Illinois roads. The new revenue would go toward maintenance which they say is long overdue.
The state's gas tax has stayed the same for more than two decades. This plan would raise it by 4 cents a gallon and 7 cents for diesel fuel. Jennifer Morrison is with the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, which includes business and labor groups. Combined with an increase in vehicle registration fees and a new sales tax on services like auto repair and oil changes, she says the state's transportation system can avoid total disrepair.
"If we don't do anything ... That would mean one in every three miles would be in unacceptable condition," she said.
Doug Whitley, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, says without a long term plan, drivers could be in danger. He points to road and bridge failures.
"What happened in Minnesota, what happened in Washington is disastrous and we don't want that," he said.
"And if you don't put money into your roads and bridges, you flirt with deterioration to the point where somebody's life could be at risk."
But gas stations — especially those along state borders — have fought any move to raise the cost of Illinois fuel. They say it will mean less business for them as drivers buy cheaper gas in neighboring states.