DuPage expecting to get an additional $10 million for road projects
DuPage officials are acknowledging the county's revenue outlook will improve significantly because of Illinois' capital spending plan and an increase in the state's motor fuel tax.
Starting July 1, the state's gas tax will double to 38 cents a gallon from 19 cents. As a result, DuPage is expected to receive an additional $10 million for road projects in 2020.
"Obviously, this is going to be a big increase," said Don Puchalski, chairman of the county board's transportation committee. "But the people are going to see something for their money."
This year, the county is spending roughly $36 million on a road program that includes pavement resurfacing and intersection upgrades. Puchalski said additional money will allow the county to expand the work it's doing.
"That $10 million increase gives us the ability to do a lot of projects while maintaining our roads in good repair," said Puchalski, an Addison Republican.
DuPage also is expected to benefit from projects and funding formulas in the capital spending plan.
"If you look at the fine print, we stand to gain," county board Chairman Dan Cronin said.
For example, state roads that run through DuPage will be improved. In addition, there will be money for specific projects, including $75,000 for HVAC repairs at the DuPage County Historical Museum in Wheaton.
"We think we're going to be in a position where we'll see some relief for projects that we thought would be our responsibility," said Cronin, an Oak Brook Republican.
The state has given DuPage the ability to double its countywide gas tax to 8 cents per gallon from 4 cents.
However, county officials say there's been no talk of pursuing that option.
"We're not planning that and it's not even on the table at this time," Puchalski said.
Cronin said that authority is simply a tool that's available for sometime in the future. "It just gives us some latitude," he said.
In the meantime, Cronin said he wants to see how things unfold with the additional state money the county will receive. So far, he said he's satisfied.
"Our budgets have been really, really tight these last few years," Cronin said. "I wasn't sure whether or not we could continue to fulfill our mission if the circumstances remained the same in terms of state funding and state support.
"Well, the state funding and state support changed," he said. "It's more generous."