Will County votes to fund road repair
Impact fee will fix roads, many over 50 years old
Last updated 1/15/2020 at 1:29pm
The Will County Board voted at their December meeting to move forward with a motor fuel tax to improve safety for motorists with repairs to aging roads, many of which are over 50 years old and built to support a county population that was less than half of what it is today.
“We are excited to improve safety on our roads,” said Will County Board Speaker Denise Winfrey (D-Joliet). “Our residents want and deserve improved shoulders and turn lanes, better traffic signals, and much needed road resurfacing.”
The impact fee will apply to all fuel sales conducted in Will County including truck stops along I-80 and I-55). The Will County engineering department has a list of road improvement projects from Beecher to Braidwood, to Bolingbrook. Some of these projects are shovel ready but lacked the funding to actually put the shovels in the ground.
“Many of these roads were not designed to support our current population and the high level of use they currently receive,” said Public Works and Transportation Committee Chair Joe VanDuyne (D-Wilmington). “For example, River Road north of Wilmington was constructed around 1980 when our county population was close to 300,000. Our population is nearly 700,000 today and it will cost close to $25 million to rebuild the entire four mile stretch of that road. We absolutely need this revenue to keep our infrastructure in a good state of repair.”
Republicans were united in their opposition to the motor fuel tax citing widespread opposition voiced by their constituents.
“We will receive nearly $10 million in new revenue for road and bridge improvements from the state over the next six years,” said Judy Ogalla (R-Monee). “Isn’t that enough? How much do we need to tax?”
The money from the county motor fuel tax can only be used to fund road repairs and improvements.
“This user fee allows Will County to take local control over our infrastructure,” said Winfrey. “Our county is booming with business and new residents and our roads have to keep pace if we want to remain a great place to live, work, and recreate.”