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Window Closing For Trump Infrastructure Plan, RTA Boss Warns

(WBBM Newsradio) -- The head of the Regional Transportation Authority board says time is running out if Illinois wants to cash in on the Trump administration's infrastructure program.

He would begin with higher gas taxes and seek to impose tolls on at least some of the Chicago area's expressways.

Full details of the Trump Administration proposal are still being worked out, but RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard says he has warned for a year about the structure of the plan, which reduces federal funding for road and transit projects from 80 percent to 20 percent.

"He wants to turn upside down how we have traditionally funded transit and infrastructure," Dillard says. "Basically, he has shoved it back to the states."

Republicans in recent decades have been loathe to raise taxes, but Dillard, also a Republican, notes that both Indiana and Iowa have positioned themselves to benefit by increasing gas taxes enough to cover the 80 percent state or locally funded share.

Dillard asks why roadblocks remain in Illinois, especially given that its motor fuel tax was last increased 30 years ago. Dillard also sees merit in making expressways into tollways, but says not to count on private backers buying in.

He says they don't want Illinois' infrastructure.

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