4-cent gas tax up for vote by Champaign council

4-cent gas tax up for vote by Champaign council

CHAMPAIGN — In what seems likely to be a narrow decision, city council members tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 6) are scheduled to take a final vote on a 4-cent-per-gallon gas tax, a measure they have already given the minimum number of votes informally.

The council will meet for its biweekly voting session tonight at 7 in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Representatives discussed the new tax in November, and at the end of the debate, a non-binding 5-4 straw poll sent the bill on to tonight's meeting for a formal vote.

The majority of council members agreed that the tax is necessary to help pay for the maintenance of the city's aging roads. Officials estimate that a 4-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline sold in Champaign would generate $1.5 million annually.

That would help city workers start to catch up on a $60 million backlog of unfunded road projects.

Dissenting council members worried about the costs to consumers and businesses. Council member Karen Foster, for example, said the extra pennies on local products begin to add up.

The proposed tax is higher than a surcharge the Urbana City Council approved last year. When the Urbana gas tax went into effect in October 2010, it stood at two cents per gallon. That ordinance included a 0.4-cent increase every year for three years — it stands at 2.4 cents now and will eventually top off at 3.2 cents per gallon.

But Champaign administrators have said the Urbana tax has not created a difference in gas prices between the two cities, and they do not expect a Champaign tax to create a noticeable difference, either.

If council members repeat their preliminary approval tonight, the tax could be in place within a few months.

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ronaldo wrote on December 06, 2011 at 9:12 am

CU's gas is already the higher than Springfield's, Bloomington/Normal's, Peoria's and Decatur's.  That's just wonderful - let's raise it even higher. 

Watch carefully who votes in favor of raising the gas tax and remember that on election day.

illinifan2003 wrote on December 06, 2011 at 10:12 am

The fact that Champaign prices are higher than Springfield and Bloomington is just not true.  Check out this website to see the real story.  I am originaly from the Springfield area and my family is always commenting on the cheaper gas in Champaign.  Besides, this is an issue of equity.  Urbana has the tax and Champaign should also have the tax to be fair to our retailers and shoppers.  Besides, would you rather pay higher property taxes to fix roads or would you rather the people who use those roadds pay for their repair? I say its better to spread the tax out over a larger pool of people (visitors, rural users, etc) instead of just Champaign residents paying to keep our roads in good condition.  

Check out the gas prices across the whole state. http://www.illinoisgasprices.com/Map_Gas_Prices.aspx

ronaldo wrote on December 06, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I was in each of those cities in the past 12 days.  Bloomington was $0.15/gal. cheaper.  Still sticking with your story?

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on December 06, 2011 at 11:12 am

Wow-what a choice--pay higher here or pay higher there!  How about pay lower here and reduce over there or-better yet-- reduce your direct connection with monetary involvement.