Why You Should Vote "YES" on the Safe Roads Amendment Nov. 8
by Matthew W. Hart, ITA Executive Director
On November 8, we have the opportunity to exercise one of our rights as Americans: to go to the polling place and to vote. November 8 will also mark the end to a very bitter and ugly battle for many political offices.
According to the Associated Press, 78% of Americans are dissatisfied or angry with the way the federal government is working, and 62% of you are dissatisfied or angry with the way state and local government is working.
One of the reasons for such a low level of trust in Illinois is because elected officials have been saying one thing and then doing another once they are elected to office.
A prime example of this behavior is the unprecedented raiding of the state's Road Fund to pay for things that have nothing to do with your roads. At least $6.8 Billion has been diverted from the Road Fund over the past several years. Money that you have paid when you fill up your gas tank has been collected by the state with the understanding that the money would be used for building and maintaining the roads you travel. Unfortunately, this hasn't been happening in Illinois.
Lawmakers have been diverting money out of the Road Fund for more than a decade in Illinois. When you fill your tank, you pay taxes of 19 cents per gallon for gasoline and 21.5 cents per gallon for diesel fuel; money that is supposed to be used to repair the street in front of your house. That money is also supposed to be used to add lanes to the highway you use each day travelling to and from work.
With the push of a button, lawmakers in Springfield have been voting for decades to sweep your motor fuel tax money away from the Road Fund, and your tax money has been used to prop up state spending in other areas.
Now you have the opportunity to tell lawmakers to keep their hands off of the Road Fund. On November 8, you have the chance to tell politicians that the motor fuel tax, a tax that you pay to fund our roads and bridges, should actually be used to fund our roads and bridges.
This year's "Safe Roads Amendment" is of even greater interest to the trucking industry in Illinois because we pay the greatest share of motor fuel taxes in the state. Trucking only accounts for 9 percent of the vehicle miles traveled in the state, yet we pay 43 percent of all taxes and fees owed by Illinois motorists. So shouldn't we support the effort to actually keep our highway tax money in the Road Fund?
You might not be excited about some of the names on your ballot next Tuesday, but you can confidently vote to tell lawmakers that the tax money you already pay should be used to keep our roads safe.
On November 8, vote "YES" on the Safe Roads Amendment.