Cullerton drops idea to tax miles driven to finance roads

  • Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, decided not pursue a proposal to pay for road construction by taxing motorists by the miles they drive.

    Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, decided not pursue a proposal to pay for road construction by taxing motorists by the miles they drive. Associated Press/December 2103

 
Associated Press
Updated 4/18/2016 7:22 PM

The Illinois Senate president says he will not pursue a proposal to pay for road construction by taxing motorists by the miles they drive.

John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, floated the idea last week because revenue from taxes on gasoline is declining. Cars are more fuel-efficient but still wear out roads.

 

The idea was to allow motorists to choose to have a device to monitor the actual mileage they drive or pay 1.5 cents per mile on a base 30,000 miles yearly.

Cullerton posted on social media Friday that he intended the plan -- which the Executive Committee aired on Wednesday -- to spark debate about more efficient ways to fund road-building.

He says he "received a lot of constructive feedback" but will not pursue his plan, which last week he called "inevitable." The concept has been discussed in transportation circles for years, with Oregon and California running pilot programs.

In his plan, Cullerton proposed Illinois drivers would get a refund for gasoline tax costs paid at the pump to make up for the per-mile tax.

He said gas-guzzling vehicles would probably pay less in total under his idea because the 1.5 cents per mile will be less than their gasoline taxes. Owners of efficient cars might pay more in taxes, he said.

•Daily Herald Political Editor Mike Riopell contributed.

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