By Richard Wronski
An influential Chicago think tank/planning organization is urging the state’s gas tax be increased by 30 cents per gallon. Here are four reasons why:
- Experts say Illinois needs to invest $43 billion over 10 years to improve roads, bridges and rail lines and tackle a maintenance backlog.
- Estimates say motorists are already wasting more than that amount on vehicle repairs due to poor roads; time lost in congestion; and loss of population and jobs to neighboring states.
- The state’s gas tax, currently at 19 cents per gallon, hasn’t been raised in 25 years.
- The gas tax hike, along with an accompanying 50 percent increase in vehicle registration fees, would cost the average person $12.25 a month, or $147 a year. That’s about one lunch tab a month or a Netflix charge, the argument goes.
The recommendation to begin “an honest conversation” on hiking the gas tax came Monday from the Metropolitan Planning Council, an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit civic group. MPC’s board consists of many movers and shakers from Chicago banks and businesses.
MPC issued a detailed analysis (http://metroplanning.org/transportation) of its proposal, which it said it compiled after a year’s worth of discussions with transportation officials and other experts.
It’s not the first call for an increase in the state’s gas tax to pay for transportation needs, either by the MPC or others. Just over a year ago, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, an aggregation of interest groups ranging from labor unions to truckers to local chambers of commerce, urged an unspecified increase in the gas tax along with a…
Hello, Chicago. This marks the debut of a new source of information for the millions of Chicago area residents and businesses who must get around the metropolitan area each day, whether by car, bus or train (and bike, too). Just a few years ago, there were at least five reporters working for Chicago newspapers and radio stations whose “beat” was transportation and who provided this information. Not any more.
While those beats have disappeared, the news has not. Chicagoans still need to know the best ways to get around. They need to know how their expressways and tollways are being managed and maintained. They need to know if their buses and trains are operating properly and on time. They need to know who runs the transit agencies, and why those officials make the decisions they do. They need to how their tax money and fares are being spent. They need a watchdog.
The Chicago Transportation Journal’s goal is to address those needs. We’ll do so by providing in-depth coverage of issues unavailable elsewhere. For example, if your bus or train is consistently late, we’ll tell you why and what’s being done to fix the problem. We’ll delve into the decision-making behind the policies and actions taken by transportation agencies. We’ll also provide a forum for transportation users, providers and experts. We welcome other voices.
Transportation is a multibillion-dollar industry, and Chicago is the transportation hub of the nation. All the major freight railroads, Amtrak, and many of the key interstate highways pass through the region. We have two of the nation’s busiest airports, O’Hare and Midway. This site also hopes to keep an eye on the freight rail, trucking and aviation industries, areas not covered by other media.
The Chicago Transportation Journal is making a…