Groups fending off potential IL motor fuel tax hike

Apr 15, 2014

Gas station owners and petroleum distributors are fending off a potential increase in Illinois' motor fuel tax, even though it's not an immediate threat.

The state's gas tax hasn't seen an increase in more than two decades. Advocates of a plan to raise it, like engineers and business leaders, say that could help pay for much-needed highway improvements. But Bill Fleischli, with the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association, says before the state looks to raise more revenues, it should use what it has in the road fund, a pot of money that's supposed to be dedicated to funding road work.  

A 2013 audit found that Illinois often uses money in that fund for other expenses. Fleischli says taxpayers should know the true costs of road repair. 

"How much do we pay for concrete, how much do we pay for asphault, how much do we pay for rebar, how much do we pay for this and that? ... Before you come and double the program, we ought to think that they're getting the best bang for their buck."

The advocates for a motor fuel tax hike say that will boost revenue enough to set the stage for long-term improvements, instead of repairing in short bursts that can be more expensive. No legislator as signed on to push that package through the General Assembly.