FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Union County Highway Engineer: State’s Motor Fuel Tax Payment Needs Resumed
SPRINGFIELD—The State’s budget battle is catching many county programs in the crossfire. For less populated, more rural counties like Union County, delays of Motor Fuel Tax payments could leave county roads in very poor shape going into the winter season.
On August 25, 2015, Union County Highway Engineer Kevin Grammer and Johnson County Highway Engineer Steve Kelley joined representatives of Chicago and Macomb in Springfield to address the Illinois House of Representatives’ Committee of the Whole on the impact this will have on local agencies and residents.
“With 70% of the transportation system in Illinois being locally maintained, delays in MFT payments will rapidly impact the average Illinoisan,” said Grammer. “Many local agencies are reducing and eliminating pavement maintenance. Salt purchases for winter weather are also being reduced or eliminated. This is the time of year for a lot of construction projects that are now being delayed or canceled. No matter where you live, if you are using locally maintained roads you are going to be hit by this.”
Grammer has not yet had to lay off any employees but says many agencies have and it’s only a matter of time before Union County has to follow suit.
“MFT funds and property taxes fund our day-to-day operations. Our tax levy can cover the cost of some of our personnel but obviously not all of them,” explained Grammer.
The way the Motor Fuel Tax works is that for every gallon of fuel purchased in Illinois, between 19 cents and 21.5 cents is collected by vendors and sent to the State. From there, the Illinois Department of Transportation distributes those funds out to local agencies such as the Union County Highway Department. However, those distributions aren’t made with the State budget up in the air.
“Without a budget in place, we haven’t received our allotment since July 1,” added Grammer. “We’ve also been told by the Illinois Association of County Engineers that Needy County, Consolidated County and Township Bridge Program payments will also be held until the budget is resolved.”
Grammer urges anyone concerned about local transportation funding to contact their legislators and encourage them to support restoring funding immediately.