FUNDING: Ill. senator proposes miles-driven tax to resuscitate lax transportation funding

April 13, 2016

Lack of a state capital bill has unduly taxed the department of transportation, which has several large projects in the offing

A proposal in Illinois for the state to put a device on cars to see how many miles citizens are driving would make use of that data to charge a tax on drivers based on miles driven. 

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, who this week made an appearance at the Innovation in Construction, Asphalt and Transportation (ICAT) conference in Peoria, made the initial tax proposal, saying that not only does he want Illinois to be the first state in the country to adapt such devices but that he also believes the concept in general is inevitable.

Senator Cullerton's plan would create a commission to figure out the specifics of the proposal but doesn't anticipate any major changes in taxation happening for a couple of years.

A long-standing clash between the state’s Republican governor and Democratic Congress has caused a budgetary stalemate. At the same time, the state is losing out on gas tax revenue thanks to more fuel efficient cars on the road and the generally low price of gas in recent months.

The proposal to use a devise to track and tax mileage calls for two possibilities: First, drivers can have a device put on their cars that tracks when they’re in Illinois and charge a tax for that; or, alternatively, drivers can opt for the flat tax of 1.5 cents per mile if they don't want the tracking device on their car due to privacy concerns.

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