TAYLORVILLE— Seth McMillan, an outsider running for State Senate in the 48th District, is releasing an infrastructure plan to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for roads and bridges.
“For too long, politicians have used road funds for their pet projects. It’s time we stop the games with our road funds and start to put the money where it’s needed—fixing our crumbling roads and bridges,” said McMillan.
Below are some details of McMillan’s infrastructure plan:
- ln the current state budget, politicians diverted $300 million from the Road Fund to pay for transit -- which previously came out of the General Revenue Fund. Illinois needs to stop stealing from the roads for other projects. McMillan says he would put Road Fund dollars in a lock box.
- McMillan supports mass transit in places it can be effective, but the gasoline tax was created to be a user tax -- where revenues are used to pay for repairs to the road network, not for pet projects of Chicago politicians. Illinois cannot pay for anything but roads out of the Road Fund. That includes mass transit, pedestrian programs, and bicycle programs. User fees for our crumbling roads and bridges can no longer be diverted.
- In the current budget, the legislature uses IDOT as a pass-through for several non-related grants. One was $585,000 to the Illinois Latino Family Commission. It may be a worthwhile grant, but it has nothing to do with transportation. Grants to IDOT should be related to transportation projects only. Staff time used on non-transportation grants wastes public money and makes IDOT less efficient.
- Currently, Illinois charges a 6.25% sales tax on every gallon of gasoline sold, but it is not set aside for road projects. Most of the gasoline sales tax revenue goes to the state’s General Fund, which can be spent on a variety of purposes. I support shifting at least a portion of the gasoline sales tax to infrastructure.
Among other priorities includes spending millions of dollars on projects that have nothing to do with roads:
- The state authorizes up to $160 million to be raided from the road fund for planning purposes. The road fund should pay for projects, not administrative work.
- $1.2 million for distracted driving programs paid for out of the road fund. It's a worthwhile program, but it should be paid for somewhere else.
- $818,000 for printing and $1.75 million for auditing of consultants and vendors. All printing and auditing work paid for by the road fund should be directly related to road projects and should be put out to bid for the most cost effective price.
- $4.6 million is set aside from the road fund for insurance and tort claims. Those should not be coming out of our roads and we should find an appropriate place in the General Revenue Fund for them.
- There's a $200,000 raid of the road fund for PR. McMillan says it should be used on roads.
McMillan says he also supports renegotiating existing bonds and contracts as well as considering the issuance of new and cheaper bonds to help fund and cover road projects with long term savings.
“I don't claim to have all of the answers to fix every road and bridge in the state, especially in such a time of fiscal turmoil,” said McMillan. “But, I do know we should be spending less on things that aren't road projects with funds earmarked for roads and bridges.”
To learn more about Seth McMillan, an outsider and small business owner running for State Senate, visit www.sethmcmillan.com