Raising Gax Tax "Unwise," Says Quinn, But Offers No Other Ideas

Apr 9, 2014

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider announces an $8.6 billion, six-year transportation construction program, with Gov. Pat Quinn at her side.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  Illinois will invest another eight point six billion dollars into roads, bridges and other projects. It's the latest installment of a major infrastructure plan lawmakers passed in 2010. Now, Governor Pat Quinn is calling for a new one. But he's not saying where the money should come from.

The 2010 infrastructure program - known as Illinois Jobs Now! - has funded thousands of miles of road repairs so far -- paid for by higher taxes on alcohol, candy and soft drinks; a higher license plate fee; and revenue from video poker.

Quinn has parceled out announcing those plans over the past several years. The latest include a new bridge in Moline, bridge replacements on the Stevenson Expressway in Chicago, and work on I-74 near Champaign. But that program is winding down.

In his budget speech, Gov. Quinn called for a new one to address ever-present infrastructure needs. A transportation group has proposed hiking Illinois' vehicle registration fees, adding a sales tax to oil changes and car washes ... and a higher tax on gasoline.

Quinn says he's not for that.

"I think that's a depleting resource; I think using the gas tax to fund our future would not be a wise idea" Quinn says.

But he offered no suggestions of his own. He's leaving it up to an as-yet unnamed, bipartisan panel of legislators to figure out how to pay for it.