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Proposal:Tax Gas To Pay For Roads And Bridges

Updated: Thursday, June 19 2014, 11:23 AM CDT
All across central Illinois streets are crumbling and bridges are falling into disrepair,

That's why in Decatur the city council is mulling over a proposal to raise money to fix the city's aging infrastructure.

The idea is to create a four cent per gallon gas tax in order to raise money to fix roads and bridges throughout the city.

The mayor, along with city council, know the plan isn't going to be an easy sell, and there are a lot of things that will have to be done to make it work.

"Certainly it's not something any council member wants to vote for, but we've got to look and see if we can make it county wide. There's still a lot of work to be done on this," said Mayor Mike McElroy.

Mcelroy stressed the gas tax plan is just in the idea phase, but the city's first step will be to discuss the plan with Macon County leaders to make the idea a county-wide tax hike.

"The county has as many problems with their roads and bridges as we do, that's probably a given. The other thing is four cents a gallon, you could be driving into other communities to drive your gas as opposed to when you're here and then you've defeated the purpose," said McElroy.

Residents we spoke with agree, the roads are bad, but they don't want to foot the bill to fix them.

"We pay a lot of taxes now. They rescinded the tax a couple years ago because of the price of gas and it's only gotten higher since then. I think it's crazy," said Laura Salefski, Decatur resident.

"We pay enough taxes around here anyway. And I run a lawn business and it cost me a fortune for gas already. I just don't think it's fair for them to keep adding, keep adding, keep adding," said David Tatro, Decatur resident.

But, Mayor McElroy says something has to be done and tough choices have to be made.

"You cannot drive on these roads, you cannot have your cars damaged. You have a responsibility, even when you're part time legislator, you have a responsibility to the tax payers, and those are to give you safe roads and bridges," said McElroy.

The mayor didn't know how much revenue the 4 cent gas tax would raise, but the city needs about $6 million to complete the back log of improvements and to maintain road conditions. Proposal:Tax Gas To Pay For Roads And Bridges

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