Lawmakers in Illinois are proposing a new law that will tax drivers for every mile that they drive. The new proposal, called the Illinois Road Improvement and Driver Enhancement Act, states that "each owner or lessee of a motor vehicle that is required to be registered in this state shall pay a distance-based road user fee for metered use of the public roads in Illinois." The proposed law, which would go into effect July 1, 2017, is intended to fund road construction for the state.
As the use of electric and fuel efficient vehicles is rising in Illinois, state revenue from gas taxes is declining. In order to come up with this funding for road repairs, State Senate President John Cullerton is proposing to tax drivers based on the miles they drive per day. Cullerton's strategy offers two options to drivers. Illinois residents can place a device inside their car to monitor their daily mileage, or if they have privacy concerns they may choose to pay a 1.5 cent-per-mile tax at a base of 30,000 miles, totaling $450 per year. The plan allows for drivers to get a refund for gasoline taxes paid at the pump, but out-of-state drivers would still pay these taxes.
Cullerton believes electric cars are to blame, stating "The Prius owners are the reason we need the bill," adding, "if all the cars were electric, there would be no money for the roads." Because these cars still damage the roads but they do not pay regular taxes on gasoline, the State Senate President sees this as a gap he could fill through the Illinois Road and Driver Enhancement Act.
As construction season begins, roadway projects will cost the state billions of dollars for this summer alone. While this proposal would not go into effect until July of 2017, officials are reviewing the proposed law this week.