Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) has signed on as Co-Sponsor of House Resolution 766, a resolution that voices opposition to taxing Illinois drivers per mile traveled. HR 766 was filed at the beginning of the regular Legislative Session in anticipation of new legislation that attempts to do just that.

In 2016, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) proposed the new tax on miles traveled on public, non-tolled Illinois roads using GPS tracking technology and a Chicago Daily Herald article stated that the sponsor of the new tax wanted Illinois to be the first state in the union to make the changes statewide and that the concept is inevitable.

“The vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax would be particularly burdensome to downstate Illinoisans. We cover more miles here because our communities are rural. Whether it’s to work, school, or visiting family we log a lot of miles daily and that will cost us more than those in the city,” said Representative Hammond. She added, “It’s simply unfair.” 

One previously proposed plan, which would impose a fee of 1.5¢ per mile driven, would report miles traveled on public, non-tolled Illinois roads by using GPS tracking technology in a smartphone app or a tracking device similar to the I-Pass (or EZ-Pass). With this tracking, individuals would be monitored to calculate how many miles were driven in Illinois each month. Another plan would impose a fee of 1.5¢ per mile driven, based on monthly odometer readings instead of GPS tracking technology, and another would plan would be a flat rate plan of an annual fee of $450. 

Illinoisans currently pay over 34 cents per gallon in state and federal taxes for gasoline.

Governor Bruce Rauner declared a harvest emergency, for the second year in a row, to help level the playing field between Illinois farmers and crop haulers and those in neighboring states. Assistant House Minority Leader Norine Hammond applauded the action which creates a no fee permit for increased gross axle weight limits for agricultural commodities haulers.
Representative Hammond said, “The Governor’s action will allow for a more successful harvesting season, I am pleased that he, once again, made this declaration to assist our leading industry- agriculture.” She added that this action bridges the gap between the 2018 harvest season and a new law, House Bill 5749- that she was a Chief Co-Sponsor of, which takes effect next year.  

The emergency declaration is in effect from Monday, Sept. 10, to Dec. 31, 2018, and enables crop haulers to seek free Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) permits to exceed legal maximum gross vehicle and gross axle weight limits or the vehicle’s registered gross weight, whichever is less, by no more than 10 percent on state and federal highways under IDOT’s jurisdiction, except interstates. (Federal requirements prohibit inclusion of interstates.)
 
“We appreciate Gov. Rauner declaring an emergency situation for the 2018 harvest season, especially in light of the declining incomes and market turmoil which farmers are currently facing,” said Richard Guebert Jr., president, Illinois Farm Bureau. “This declaration opens the door for increased efficiencies for farmers and truck drivers hauling agricultural commodities and will help offset any uncontrollable effects of weather and commodity markets, allowing farmers the freedom to move what is projected to be a record-breaking crop.”
 
Permits will be issued at no charge, but applicants must obtain a route authorization number every two weeks. The harvest emergency permit and other information on the permitting process can be obtained through IDOT’s automated permitting web application at https://webapps.dot.illinois.gov/ITAP.