An overwhelming majority of Peoria county residents voted no to a half percent sales tax increase that would fund road repairs..
The county has identified nearly 200 million dollars in much needed repairs. The money from the road tax would’ve totaled $81 million dollars.
Peoria city engineer, Bill Lewis, “People in the area have been hearing this for awhile but the reality is without some kind of revenue and a source for funding these roads they just won’t get any better.”
They won’t be touched at all says a Peoria city engineer.
“The money’s gotta come from somewhere or else the roads just won’t get repaired,” said Lewis.
Reality has settled in and left residents frustrated.
One Peoria resident, Thomas Singer, is against the road tax. According to Singer, “We seem to have the money to rebuild our warehouse district. we have the money for everything else but not to rebuild our roads. people are leaving. our jobs are leaving. our stores are leaving mainly because of our roads and our taxes.”
In Peoria there are about 8 roads that would have been fixed if the referendum passed.
“They can’t just keep taxing us and taxing us and taxing us,” said Lewis.
Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray Lahood, said now the responsibility to find a fix goes to our newest wave of elected officials
“I hope that these people who have just been elected to congress will go back to Washington, pass a transportation bill, take the burden off of local governments and off of local citizens,” said Lahood. “Send some of the gas tax dollars back to Illinois and begin fixing up our roads “
Lewis said the road referendum will likely arise again, offering the same option to voters in the future. However, it all comes down to whether citizens are willing to help foot the bill for road repairs and if not where that money will come from.