Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has drafted a $41.5 billion plan that would rely on a slew of new taxes and tax increases to repair the state’s infrastructure.
The six-year plan, called Rebuild Illinois, was presented to state lawmakers May 17 and outlines investments in roads, bridges, transit, education, state parks, historic sites and clean water infrastructure.
The draft plan proposes doubling the fuel tax rate from 19 cents per gallon for diesel and gas to 38 cents per gallon. This increase is projected to generate $1.2 billion in revenue annually. Illinois has not adjusted its fuel tax rate since 1990.
“Since 2013, 31 states have raised or reformed their motor fuel tax,” the draft plan states. “Increasing the motor fuel tax to 38 cents per gallon will put Illinois’ rate more in line with other large states.”
Rebuild Illinois also outlines plans to increase vehicle registration fees and the liquor gallonage tax. The plan suggests new taxes on ride-sharing services, cable and streaming services and parking garages.
The draft plan proposes allocating $1 billion to repair a 16-mile stretch of Interstate 80 outside Chicago and replace the Des Plaines River bridges, the dilapidated spans that carry the route in Joliet. Some 23% of the vehicles that travel this corridor are trucks. The draft also proposes $135 million to reconstruct the I-55/I-72 interchange in Springfield and $61 million to add lanes to an intersection in downtown Effingham that carries 14,000 vehicles per day, some 9% of which are trucks.
Many of the efforts outlined in Rebuild Illinois are meant to improve the movement of freight. The draft plan notes that nearly one-third of all freight traffic in the country originates, ends or passes through Illinois.
“Illinois’ location in the center of our nation, and its transportation infrastructure and logistical systems for road, rail, water and air transportation, make it an ideal hub for both American and global business,” Rebuild Illinois states.
The hike to the fuel tax would result in $4 billion over six years in new funding for local government agencies to spend on road and bridge projects. Local government oversees 80% of Illinois’ road system and 18,000 bridges. Some 8.5% of Illinois bridges are structurally deficient, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
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In addition to improving safety, Rebuild Illinois also is meant to spur economic development. The plan proposes $711 million in new funding through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for partnerships with businesses, entrepreneurs and local government agencies. The plan notes that infrastructure investment creates decent jobs; the plan is projected to support 540,000 jobs over the next six years.
Illinois’ infrastructure received a C- grade on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ most recent report card. The state’s deferred maintenance backlogs at state facilities and educational institutions have reached $24 billion.
“Businesses and residents alike face untold costs for the congestion delays, damage to vehicles and concern over the integrity of bridges and failure to maintain facilities for public use,” the draft plan states. “Significant investments are needed to ensure Illinois’ infrastructure is repaired, maintained and consistently prioritized year after year.”