One of downstate Illinois' favorite sons is urging the road-building community to urge its lawmakers to increase the gas tax and pass a big transportation bill. “We need to raise the gas tax – and index it” to inflation, said Ray LaHood, a former Republican Congressman and former U. S. transportation secretary. He said the interstate system and every other major project gets its juice from a tax on gasoline.
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“We need to get back to a Congress that passes a six-year bill,” said LaHood. A two-year bill, such as that recently put into place, does not do as much for jobs and the economy, never mind transportation infrastructure. “America is one big pothole right now. I don't have to tell anybody in Illinois that.” LaHood told transportation interests in Springfield the long-term bill, two of which he saw pass as a member of Congress representing Peoria, Springfield, and Jacksonville over much of the past two decades, provides certainty that the shorter-term bill does not.