Voters in November will be given the opportunity to decide if funding for the state’s roads should be off limits to other agencies or programs, with the approval this week by the General Assembly of a proposed state constitutional amendment known as the “Transportation Fund Lock Box.”
Intended to end Road Fund diversions, the amendment states that any revenue collected from transportation-related activities (registration fees, gas taxes, and mass transit fees) is only spendable on road construction, maintenance, and other related transportation expenses.
Since 2003, nearly $7 billion has been swept out of the Road Fund and diverted elsewhere—money that was intended to repair Illinois’ roads and bridges. According to an audit completed in May 2013, less than half of Road Fund expenditures went toward road construction costs in 2011 and 2012.
The constitutional amendment passed with overwhelming support from both parties in the Legislature.
Other proposed amendments to the Illinois Constitution failed to advance out of the General Assembly this spring, including proposals to change the way legislative district boundaries are drawn, to eliminate the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and to change the state’s flat income tax rate to a graduated rate.