Bridging the gap: Taxpayers cover increasing cost of road maintenance

Target 3

As more money goes into fixing our roads and bridges, the increase in price continues to fall on Illinois taxpayers.

Money for county, township, city and village roads typically comes from the state’s Motor Fuel Tax, or your gas tax. Illinois doubled that rate in 2019, and it has increased every year since.

Another hike is set for July 1. The tax will go from just over $0.387 per gallon to $0.392 per gallon.

Source: Illinois Department of Revenue

That money helps maintain county roads. At an Effingham County Road & Bridge Committee meeting Tuesday morning, engineer Greg Koester discussed ongoing and upcoming repairs.

The Effingham Road and Bridge Committee met early Tuesday morning over coffee and breakfast.

The county engineer said doubling the gas tax in 2019 created the first increase in road maintenance money from the state in about three decades. Koester said it was a 68% increase for counties and townships.

On top of that, more than $1.2 million from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan is now available to Effingham County.

Koester said the plan works very similarly to the Motor Fuel Tax.

“It’s really the same thing,” he began. “Rebuild Illinois also includes the generation of some bond money, where I believe your vehicle registrations went up, and things like that. So they’re selling bonds on that future revenue but trying to give those funds to the local agencies over this first three-year period.”

That $1.2 million is the sum of four installments from the state. There are two more to come, and Koester expects the next to arrive in about six months.

The county engineer said maintenance is the keyword when putting this money to use. The majority of Effingham County’s 900 miles of roads are rural, requiring upkeep. Road and bridge repair will use up that $1.2 million.

Not all of the money has been assigned yet. Koester said a section of Moccasin Rd. near Lake Sara will take up a majority of the money, about half of it.

Moccasin Rd. near Hillcrest Dr.

“We’ve been able to keep it glued together pretty well, but it is long overdue for a reconstruction,” Koester added.

He said the bridge is 30 years old and the pavement has needed a “facelift” for years.

This is just a snippet of what’s going on with our roads in Central Illinois. Target 3 is continuing to follow the money and the conditions affecting your commute.

Related article: Bridging the gap: Who’s responsible for crumbling overpasses?

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