Gas Taxes Double, Casinos Expand and the $45 Billion Capital Bill is Set to Take Off

This week, in the Wake of the Historic Spring session of the legislature, Gov Pritzker signs into law the $45 Billion Capital bill, that is said will transform Illinois’ transportation network, deliver Rural Broadband, and address the Billions in deferred maintenance at parks, schools and colleges across the state.

But it comes at a price, and a large part of that $45 Billion Capital Improvement funding is coming from a doubling of the Motor Fuel Tax, aka “the gas tax”, with signs drivers around Illinois near the border are driving into neighboring states to buy their gasoline. The gas tax doubled from 19 cents/gallon to 38 cents, the price between a gallon of gas in Illinois communities was frequently 30 to 50 cents a gallon higher than gas at station just across the Mississippi or Ohio rivers, or in Indiana or Wisconsin.

The gas tax is funding what is called “Horizontal Capital” which are those projects, like roads and bridges. The “Vertical Capital” is funded by money from gambling – at least in part. This week, Gov Pritzker went around the state, starting with his bill signing of the Capital bill and Gaming expansion bills in Springfield.

On July 2, he went to Walkers’ Bluff, in Carterville, Illinois which is the future site of one of the six new casinos that will be opening. The governor and others, spoke of the economic development that the casinos will have on the regional economy where they’re located. Carterville, located about 10 mins by car from Carbondale, is an area of the state that’s always had a high unemployment compared with other regions. The casino license for Walkers’ Bluff will mean plans will go forward on a 300-plus room hotel, convention center, year-round water park, and the casino itself.

The owners of Walkers’ Bluff have already invested millions to develop the site with a world-class restaurant tavern, and winery with a magnificent underground tasting room.

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