Peoria County Backs Bill To Levy County Motor Fuel Taxes

Feb 13, 2020

Peoria County is backing a bill to allow all counties to implement their own motor fuel taxes. 

Under current Illinois law, only the Chicago collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will have that authority. 

House Bill 4695, introduced this month by state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), would allow all Illinois counties to implement their own MFT of between four and eight cents a gallon on top of the federal and state motor fuel taxes already paid by drivers. The state motor fuel tax doubled last year from 19 to 38 cents a gallon as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital improvement plan. 

Peoria County Administrator Scott Sorrel said a county MFT is a revenue source sorely needed for local road upkeep.

"Given that the community locally has chosen at the ballot box not to create a sales tax twice to fund county road improvements, we're looking at other possible revenue sources that would be necessary to achieve the goals that we need to maintain our road network and make necessary life-cycle replacements," Sorrel said. 

Peoria County voters have rejected two sales tax hikes for road repairs in the last five years. In 2018, voters rejected a half percent sales tax increase which would have raised more than $60 million over 12 years by a 62 to 38 percent margin. Fifty-five percent voted against a quarter-percent increase in 2016. 

The bill is on a wish list of legislative priorities for the county this year.

Some of the county's desired infrastructure projects include:

  • $3.1 million to upgrade Lake between Sheridan and Knoxville
  • $3.1 million to fix Gale Avenue between Sterling and Forrest Hill
  • $4.3 million to repair Sheridan Road between Glen and Northmoor
  • $3 million for Willow Knolls Road between Allen and University
  • $5.5 million for repairs to Maxwell and Middle Roads near the Peoria International Airport
  • $13.4 million for Radnor Road between Alta and Willow Knolls

All roadways within the city of Peoria's current boundaries would receive sidewalks and transfer to city control following project completion in accordance with a longstanding agreement between the two government bodies. 

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said money for some of the projects on the city and county wishlists already exists within the capital bill, but funding for others will need to be "willed into existence."