Senate to vote on letting transit agencies use road funds from gas tax

The State Senate could vote Wednesday on a change to state law that
would allow transit agencies and other local government units to tap the
state’s road fund for transit and other transportation needs, such as
“dedicated bus lanes, transit signal prioritization, separated bike
lanes and pedestrian safety improvements,” according to the Active Transportation Alliance.

SB 1258, “Building our Economy Transport” (a rather stilted bill name, if you ask me), “provides
that a county board or municipality may use motor fuel tax money for
construction of public transportation facilities.” That’s the simple
description at the General Assembly’s website. And I’m all for that.

The bill has a decent chance to pass, says Greg Hinz on Crain’s Chicago Business blog:

bike lane and bus.jpg

OK, so this is a Minneapolis bike lane and bus. But you get the idea. Both could be funded out of gas tax road funds under SB 1258. (Photo from StreetsWiki)

Jim LaBelle, the transit honcho at Metropolis Strategies
(a civic group formerly known as Metropolis 2020), gives the bill a shot
at passage since it is “permissive,” allowing the state and cities to
spend money on transit, bike paths and the like but not requiring them
to do so.

“Such flexibility at a time of reduced spending would
appear to fit the agendas of both Republicans and Mayor-elect
Rahm Emanuel. But we’ll have to see.”

But this stuff doesn’t happen on its own. Our senators DO respond to constituent pressure. So call your senator today.

 

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  • Bill names are usually acronyms, such as whatever SAFETEALU was supposed to be, but wasn't.

    Here, the acronym is BET. Is the real reason that you can't bet, because the bill with video poker was ruled unconstitutional, so they are doing this?

    The answer is NO. If you look down the bill summary, the bill was stripped, and, inter alia, "removes language creating the Building Our Economy Transportation Fund; and (3) removes language providing that an amount of the motor fuel tax shall be deposited into the Building Our Economy Transportation Fund."

    So, sorry Kevin, as usual, the legislature beat you to the punch. Of course, this also prevents me from commenting again on those who say to subsidize transit because drivers aren't paying anything.

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