SPRINGFIELD – The Transportation for Illinois Coalition, an umbrella organization of business, labor and infrastructure groups that advocates for federal and state transportation funding, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Pritzker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget plan:
“We are concerned about the Governor’s proposal to skip the expected small increase in the state’s motor fuel tax this summer, as part of his plan to provide tax relief in the upcoming budget year.
We understand the desire to address drivers’ concerns with current high gas prices. But this change – skipping an expected increase of 2.2 cents per gallon scheduled for July 1 – will save the average driver a maximum of less than $1 per fill up.
While those savings will take a long time to make a difference in the daily commute for drivers, the $135 million in revenue loss to the state’s Road Fund will be more significant and long lasting.
For many years, Illinois diverted money intended for road and bridge construction into other needs and allowed revenues to fall short of inflation, creating a huge backlog of billions of dollars in infrastructure needs. In 2019, we worked with the Legislature and Gov. Pritzker to increase the state’s motor fuel tax to begin to address the backlog, and to tie the tax in the future to a cost-of-living increase each summer to keep up with increasing construction costs.
Taking $135 million out of the planned construction program now will have a more significant impact over several years, as projects that could be planned with those funds will be delayed. At the same time, revenues will not keep up with rising inflation-driven construction costs. It also could create a political temptation to skip future scheduled small tax increases that will worsen our funding problem.
We encourage the Governor and Legislature to carefully consider this change and weigh whether the small relief for consumers will be worth the larger costs to the state’s infrastructure system – costs that we all pay.”
Patrick Hosty, Executive Director of the Chicago Laborers District Council-LMCC
Kevin Burke, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association