Lawmaker pumps the brakes on his own bill to establish a mileage tax test program

An Illinois lawmaker is pumping the brakes on his own bill. The bill would establish a test program to tax drivers by the mile while traveling on state roads.

Posted: Feb. 21, 2019 10:24 PM
Updated: Feb. 22, 2019 12:00 AM

MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) – An Illinois lawmaker is pumping the brakes on his own bill. The bill would establish a test program to tax drivers by the mile while traveling on state roads. Now the bill’s author is tabling the measure but wants to keep discussing the idea.

Drivers traveling along Illinois Route 1 have some strong opinions about a proposed mileage tax.

Illinois Driver Eric Thompson says, "It's a bad idea. Paying the taxes on the roads is something we've got to do but I don't think it needs to be over and above. Some of us are paycheck to paycheck and the taxes are killing us.”

Under the plan, drivers would have to pay a 2.1 cent tax for every mile they travel on a state road. The reason for this is declining revenue from the already established gas tax. As vehicles become more fuel efficient or drivers opt for electric cars, the state is taking in less money for roads.

There are many road blocks to getting a program like this up and running. Lawmakers have to consider enforcement and even privacy concerns for tracking drivers.

Thompson says, "No matter where I go, it isn’t any of their business and I just think that's another way for big brother to be watching you."

A mileage tax could also be more burdensome for rural communities.

Thompson says, "I have to drive Route 1 to work. I work in Paris. If it's only going to be on state roads I bet I can figure out a back way to get there to keep me off of state roads and that's what a lot of people will probably do, figure out a different route to avoid something like that."

Because of all of these questions, the bill's author is not pursuing it anymore this session. This bill has been tabled for now but it could still come up again later on down the road.

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