More Proof That If Infrastructure Gets Terrible Enough, We Can All Be Friends

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More Proof That If Infrastructure Gets Terrible Enough, We Can All Be Friends

Illinois roads need some help.

A road crew at work in Springfield, Illinois (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Earlier this week, John Oliver hilariously took up the issue of America’s ailing infrastructure. On the “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” show, the host noted that the problem is so bad that “both business and labor … turned out to support infrastructure spending — and even they know how rare that is,” joking that the last time those two groups came to agreement on an issue, “it was the issue of how dead should Jimmy Hoffa be.”

More evidence of that strange bedfellows variety is popping up in Illinois, where according to the Chicago Tribune, road maintenance is a concern across the board, and that’s fueling talk of the state raising its gas tax.

“Interest groups ranging from labor unions to truckers to local chambers of commerce argue Illinois is at a critical juncture, and a gas tax hike is one potential option,” the Tribune reports. “They contend that without action, roads that state officials say are in 85 percent acceptable shape will drop to 61 percent over the next five years.”

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition is advocating for an additional $1.8 billion a year for the state’s transportation system just to cover daily maintenance and finance long-term upgrades.

With little appetite for raising the gas tax at the federal level, Illinois isn’t the lone state on this issue. Carl Davis, of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, told NPR recently that the trend started with Maryland and Pennsylvania and now “at least a dozen states are talking about raising gas taxes — including some you might not expect. Iowa, South Carolina, Tennessee — these states haven’t seen their gas tax rate go up in over a quarter century.”

NPR has a chart of gas taxes by state here.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: taxeshighwaysbridges

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