Illinois gas tax would double under bill in State Senate

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- Among the many taxes you pay on a gallon of gas, there's one for the state of Illinois. Right now, it's 19 cents a gallon. But a new bill in the State Senate would double that tax to 38 cents a gallon.

The taxes pay for infrastructure improvements but some drivers aren't too happy.

What you pay at the pump helps pay for the roads you drive on, but fixing Illinois' old roads, filling potholes and repairing bridges is expensive.

"It looks like $4 billion a year is really the state of the need for transit and roads throughout the state and the motor fuel tax is one of the key sources for that," said Audrey Wennink, Metropolitan Planning Council.

The Metropolitan Planning Council studies the state's transit and infrastructure needs. To pay for crumbling infrastructure, the group supports a bill introduced in Springfield that would double the state gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents.

"The state motor fuel tax has not been raised since 1990, 30 years. So, what do you know that has had the same price for 30 years," Wennink said.

But, opponents say taxpayers, especially in Chicago and Cook County, are already being squeezed too much at the pump.

"We already have the tenth highest gas tax burden in the nation and the proposal is going to make us the second highest in the nation," said Orphe Divounguy, Illinois Policy Institute.

The conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute said before raising taxes, lawmakers need to look at the spending side. Besides the gas tax, the bill would double driver's license fees from $30 to $60 and increase passenger vehicle registration fees from $98 to $148. Electric cars would jump from $17.50 to $148.

"I think it's a little excessive to raise the price, at least for the driver's license renewing," said Darryl Moore, Illinois resident.

"If you've got to pay a couple dollars to make something right and its needs to be fixed I'm all with it," said Kenneth Salle, Illinois resident.

State Senator Martin Sandoval, a Chicago Democrat, introduced the bill this week. He said the proposal is a conversation starter about investing long term in Illinois transportation system
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