Lawmakers too slow to act on road funding
Your editorial, "Fund roads with eye toward state's future," Nov. 29, raises several points worth discussing. Not least of these is the admonition that the General Assembly take a more comprehensive approach to road funding. Unfortunately, the Illinois Legislature often acts slowly and not comprehensively enough, especially on important issues such as this.
Regular car and truck owners currently pay $101 annually for their license plate renewals in addition to state and federal gas taxes ($0.55/gallon), which in turn help pay for the roads, law enforcement, etc. Electric vehicles use the same roads, do not pay gas taxes and are charged only $17.50 a year for their license plates.
Because electric vehicles cause equal or comparable wear and tear on our roads, it is only fitting that they proportionally share in the cost of their preservation. Your editorial mentioned pickup trucks and hypothetically asked whether they should pay higher fees because they are larger. However, popular electric sedans, surprisingly, do have the same curb weight as pickup trucks. Also, larger commercial vehicles do pay higher annual registration fees and they pay additional fuel taxes because of the quantity of fuels they purchase.
Yes, electric vehicles are relatively few today. However, the Daily Herald and others have reported that major manufacturers are investing additional tens of billions of dollars to produce more of these vehicles. Infrastructure funding shortfalls will increase as manufacturers keep improving fuel efficiencies in regular vehicles along with increasing the number of electric vehicles.
In my view and in those of many of my constituents, it is reasonable to do what we can right now to help equalize impact fees/taxes among all vehicle/road users. Yes, a comprehensive debate on infrastructure funding is necessary, but until then, I will continue to support HB 661.
Rep. Tom Morrison