* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
A leading state Senate Republican says expanded gambling in Illinois could pay off existing capital construction projects, but there would still need to be a gas tax increase for future ones. […]
But Syverson said a future capital plan may require a gas tax increase because, he says, people are driving less and vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient.
“It may make sense to be looking at a small gas tax increase, something maybe as little as five cents,” Syverson said. “But if the feds do a capital program then we could be matching those dollars.” […]
Illinoisans currently pay the 18th-highest gas taxes in the nation. But because Illinois is one of only seven U.S. states that applies a sales tax on gas, that ranking fluctuates significantly depending on the actual price of gas. When gas prices were closer to $4 a gallon a few years ago, Illinoisans paid the third-highest gas taxes in the nation.
* Chuck Sweeny also talked to Syverson…
In 2007, the gross revenue from the state’s 19 cents-per-gallon motor fuel tax was $1.49 billion. By 2016, the amount had fallen to $1.27 billion. That downward trend will continue.
Meanwhile, since 1993 the federal motor fuel tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon. Inflation has risen nearly 70 percent since then, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator.
How do we continue to repair and rebuild roads given that the cost of the state’s backlog of deferred maintenance is about $1 billion, construction costs are increasing and revenue is declining?
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, says we will have to face the music and consider raising the motor fuel tax. He suggests an increase of 5 cents per gallon, although road construction folks say much more than that is required.
“More than that isn’t going to get a favorable response” in today’s political environment, Syverson said.
“Indiana just raised their motor fuel tax 10 cents, and a penny each year after that for the next several years, something we should have done years ago,” Syverson said. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average of state motor fuel taxes is about 28 cents a gallon.
The governor has said he opposes a gas tax hike, so I’m not sure where he’s going with this. And notice that you aren’t yet seeing Democrats get out in front of this idea.