Illinois would have the nation’s highest gasoline taxes if a plan to improve Illinois’ failing infrastructure system were implemented.

Speaking to members of the City Club of Chicago, the Metropolitan Planning Council’s senior fellow Jim Reilly unveiled the group's $43 billion, decadelong plan to improve Illinois’ infrastructure. The plan calls for increasing Illinois’ gas taxes by 30 cents a gallon, and increasing the state’s vehicle-registration fee, currently $101 annually, by 50 percent.

According to the Tax Foundation, Illinois motorists currently pay 30 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes and other fees, ranking 20th among the states. If the planning council’s proposal were implemented, Illinois would have the highest gas taxes in the nation, at a rate of 60 cents per gallon.

Reilly said those increases are much-needed.

“This is the scale of what we need to do, anything less is insufficient, anything less is simply a fairy tale,” Reilly said. “This is what we need to do if we’re going to make progress.”

Motorists in Chicago pay about 60 cents per gallon in federal, state, county and city taxes, while motorists in Decatur began paying an extra 5 cents a gallon in city gas taxes last week. 

Reilly acknowledged that motorists pay a lot in gasoline taxes, but equated the added cost to other monthly expenditures.

“For the monthly cost of one take-out lunch, or one Netflix subscription, Illinois can have bridges, roads and transit that actually work,” Reilly said.

Reilly said as cars move away from gasoline over time, implementing a vehicle-miles-traveled tax would be a way to supplement a gas tax.