By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD – Standing in front of the old Great Western Depot, where then-President-elect Lincoln gave his Farewell to Springfield, Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the $45 billion state infrastructure plan and some of the funding mechanisms to pay for it.
It’s been a decade since Illinois had a public works plan, and part of it relies on a doubling of the state’s gas tax — from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon. Pritzker noted the gas tax has stayed the same for almost 30 years and, unlike the new law, was not indexed to inflation.
The roads, bridges, and buildings will also be paid for by a $50 increase in Illinois car registration fees, six new casinos, sports betting, and more.
Pritzker said damage from wear and tear on our cars plus the lost time from driving on inefficient roads adds up to more than what we will pay in the added gas tax.
Addressing labor groups in attendance, State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said, “I don’t mind being slowed down in construction, because that means you’re working. And that’s what this is all about.”
The Springfield event was part of a statewide tour Pritzker is making to celebrate the program, “Rebuild Illinois.”
Dave Dahl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org