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Illinois Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment Protects Infrastructure Funding

The state of Illinois is on its way to safer, longer-lasting and more cost-efficient roads. At a time when the American infrastructure sorely needs attention, we’d like to congratulate the state’s voters for having the foresight to ensure a future with better highways and roads.

On November 8th of this year, Illinois enacted a transportation lockbox amendment. The Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment protects transportation funding from being redirected to other purposes. California (2010), Maryland (2014) and Wisconsin (2014) have passed similar provisions.

The Illinois amendment prohibits the General Assembly or local government from using, diverting or transferring funds from transportation revenues for non-transportation purposes.

Specifically, the amendment “provides that no moneys derived from taxes, fees, exises, or license taxes, relating to registration, titles, operation, or use of vehicles or public highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, or airports, or motor fuels, including bond proceeds, shall be expended for other than costs of administering laws related to vehicles and transportation, costs of construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and betterment of public highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or other forms of transportation, and other statutory highway purposes, including the State and local share to match federal aid highway funds.”

States and local governments often use portions of transportation funds for other purposes. Arguments for passage of the Illinois amendment stated that without it “the state will lose an additional $110 billion over ten years in vehicle repairs and congestion costs.

According to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, compiled by the American Society of Engineers (ASE), points to a substantial backlog of long-needed maintenance throughout United States infrastructure systems. The report designates a cumulative grade of D+, within which roads received a D, bridges a C+ and transit a D. The ASE, which puts out a report card every four years, advocates for improving the country’s infrastructure.

Surface Tech encourages voters in states not yet committed to protecting transportation funding to follow Illinois, California, Maryland and Wisconsin and take the steps needed to make sure they can enjoy the safe and longer-lasting roads and highways they deserve.

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