Motorists who gas up their vehicle at a Bloomington filling station will soon pay a bit more at the pump.
As the result of a close vote, Bloomington City Council approved an increase in gas tax rate Monday night. The council members voted 5-4 to raise the tax from 4 to 8 cents per gallon. The change will go into effect May 1.
Aldermen Kim Bray, Amelia Buragas, Joni Painter, Jamie Mathy and Diana Hauman voted for the measure, while Aldermen Karen Schmidt, Mboka Mwilambwe, Scott Black and David Sage voted no.
The additional revenue generated by the gas tax hike will be dedicated to road repair in Bloomington.
“The council has various reasons as to why the decision was made, but it’s safe to say that everyone who voted for this was because it was the best of all our bad options,” Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said.
Renner explained that the council had previously rejected the options to raise utility tax, property tax and sales tax to help raise funds for infrastructure.
“We are still behind the curve when it comes to structure repair,” Renner said. “The city still needs a couple million dollars to go beyond simple maintenance.”
By law, the funds from the raised gas tax rate must go solely to infrastructure repair.
Meanwhile, the Town of Normal’s gas tax remains at 4 cents per gallon.
Normal’s new budget will go into effect April 1, which will include a 2 percent raise in the water rate.
Normal Council Member R.C. McBride said raising motor fuel tax would not bring as much revenue into Normal as it does Bloomington.
“I can’t imagine we’ll even give raising Normal’s motor fuel tax any consideration before the next budget cycle begins,” McBride said.
“It’s worth noting that an increase in local motor fuel tax in Normal would not bring in as much as it does in Bloomington. Less fuel is sold in Normal, in part because Normal doesn’t have a truck stop.”
According to Renner, 30 cents on the dollar of gas taxes are paid by people who do not live in Bloomington, but use the city’s streets.
The current Illinois state gas tax is 19 cents a gallon but a new bill in the State Senate could double the tax to 38 cents a gallon. If the plan is approved in Springfield, the additional state tax would generate around $2 billion, according to reports.
Federal motor fuel tax remains at 18.4 cents per gallon.