Only in Illinois would a politician attempt to punish hybrid and electric car owners for their energy efficiency by implementing higher user fees for all other Illinois registered vehicles traveling on Illinois roadways. Senate President John Cullerton proposed just that using a revenue generating model that’s similar to one currently being tried in Oregon as a pilot program.
While the goal may be worthy, the method to his madness is flawed.
The per mile user fee is focused on the 10.4 million vehicles registered in the state while excluding all those with out-of-state plates.
Illinois-registered vehicles would be equipped for some level of tracking and monitoring using a transponder, raising potential privacy issues. Over 10 million of those gadgets, and the infrastructure to support them, won’t come cheap.
If drivers are threatened by that “Big Brother” tactic they can always opt for an annual flat $450 tax per vehicle. That doesn’t sound like a bargain.
There’s the inevitable bureaucracy required with this proposal. A Road Improvement and Driver Enhancement Commission complete with an appointed chairman and four members at a salary of $18,000-$15,000.
Maybe Cullerton should focus on passing a state budget. Soaring worker’s compensation costs and high wages makes Illinois road maintenance and construction so expensive.
Let’s let Oregon’s program, capped at 5,000 volunteers, shakeout the pitfalls of their first year program. We can learn from their experience, before we jump in with both feet, and at least know how deep the water is.
Bill Malec, O’Fallon