Chicago Metropolis 2020 has issued a new report about Illinois transportation. (Right now, the report is on their front page; I don’t see a permanent link.) Their stated objectives are things I support, including better and more attractive public transportation as well as a more efficient freight system. They acknowledge that coordination and planning need to be improved, and that good transportation is an important component of a strong economy.
They also point out that much of the current system is in bad shape, and that billions of dollars would be required to bring it up to a reasonable standard. They quote estimates of $45 billion over ten years to refurbish and expand Chicagoland public transportation, and $171 billion over 30 years for transit and highways statewide. They propose to pay for this using an increased motor fuel tax, increased and more market-sensitive tolling, and innovative financing techniques (about which more is below). They do not claim that these sources would be fully adequate to the “need.” (My own opinion of fuel taxes is that, yes, they ought to be increased, but whatever amount is raised should be devoted to the budget of the military, who spend a lot of money attempting to maintain petroleum supplies. ) Continue reading