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Higher car fees in Illinois bring cash for roads, bridges 


By MIKE RIOPELL
The (Bloomington) Pantagraph

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The higher fees Illinoisans have paid over the last year for their driver’s licenses and registration stickers have generated more than $190 million so far to pay for new roads and bridges.

Fees to renew a driver’s license went up by $20 in October 2009, and the cost of license plate stickers went up at the beginning of the year by $20 as well. The cost to transfer a title also rose.

As a group, the increases have raised about $192 million so far, according to state data.

It was all part of a controversial plan to pay for roads, bridges and schools in Illinois.

Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt said he hasn’t heard any major complaints from Illinois drivers, angry about having to pay increased fees.

But, Haupt said, it’s possible they’re reserving those criticisms for lawmakers who actually voted to raise the fees.

“People are pretty smart,” Haupt said. “They know who has the ability to raise fees.”

Increased vehicle fees are making the state money for the construction program, as are increased taxes on alcohol and candy. But another controversial money source remains stalled, as a plan to put video poker machines in bars hasn’t yet begun.

Gov. Pat Quinn, though, has touted projects created by the construction plan. This month, he’s made stops in Quincy, Galesburg and the Chicago area to tout road projects and other initiatives.

“Improving our state’s aging infrastructure is critical to Illinois’ continued economic recovery,” Quinn said in a statement following a Galesburg trip. “Together we are laying the foundation for growth now and for years to come.”

Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com

Should Wisconsin adopt a similar plan to pay for infrastructure? Continue this conversation in The Daily Reporter’s CONSTRUCTION FORUM.

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