CLINTON — Sen. Chapin Rose spent the week traveling his district, and the news he wanted to talk about likely will make most people pretty happy. More money is coming to repair downstate roads.
In particular, DeWitt County stands to collect nearly $900,000 more in Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) money a year. MFT funds pay for annual maintenance, resurfacing, bridge repair and other road projects in the county.
In addition, the state has nearly $32 million earmarked for state road work in DeWitt County over the next five years.
The extra money is the result of the recent 2019 capital bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
“Everybody thinks the money is going to Chicago, etcetera, etcetera,” Rose said Tuesday. “That is not only not true, it is stunning the amount of money downstate Illinois is getting out of this capital bill.”
Rose said the state was phasing out the sales tax on gasoline, something he said was a good idea for several reasons.
“First, as the price of gas goes up, it assesses a percentage of the underlying price, so you get gouged by the state as the price goes up,” Rose said.
He said two other bad aspects of the gas tax was the fact that the money goes into the state’s general fund, so it can be spent on anything other than roads. And, he said the governor and state legislature have complete control over its distribution.
On the other hand, MFT money is assessed per gallon of gasoline sold, so it does not increase as the price per gallon increases.
“Off the top, a huge chunk is guaranteed to come back to counties, townships and municipalities,” he said. “And, per the Illinois Constitution, every penny has to be spent on transportation.”
Rose said, from a policy perspective, “motor fuel tax is way better than sales tax.”
“If we had done this 25 years ago, the roads would never have gotten in the bad shape they are now.”
Rose estimated DeWitt County would receive an additional $175,328 per year under the program, the City of Clinton, an additional $124,419 per year.
DeWitt County townships stand to receive an estimated total of $500,766 additional funds per year.
Other county communities would receive the following estimated additional MFT funds per year: Farmer City, $36.861; Kenney, $5,614; Wapella, $9,609; Waynesville, $7,474; Weldon, $7,388.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) also has slated nearly $40 million for 16 state road projects in DeWitt County from 2020-2025.
IDOT projects planned for DeWitt County 2020-2025
• County Hwy. 18 / Revere Rd. to Ospur Rd., 3.30 miles-designed overlay, widening existing pavement