Part of your license plate renewal fee is going to help Illinois’s state parks. A $2 surcharge began funneling money to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in March. DNR spokesman Chris McCloud says those funds will help them make a dent in a $750 million maintenance backlog, starting with adding new employees. “We need more people at our state parks,” McCloud says. “I think that’s been a fairly large priority given the first wave of money that’s come in.
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”With the funds coming in smaller increments rather than a lump sum, McCloud says maintenance is focusing on smaller projects, such as fixing leaky roofs, repairing showers and toilets, and replacing outdated or broken equipment.
“Without a doubt, when we set our priorities at parks, we’re going to try and utilize the money for projects that affect public safety,” McCloud said. Some money for repairs will come from new registration and permit fees, such as permits for ATVs paying for trail maintenance. The department expects to receive $18 million to $22 million a year from the surcharge.