County Board Moving Toward Using Sales Tax Windfall for Roads

Traffic congestion will only get worse in McHenry County regardless of what local and state governments do.

There is no way that lane growth can keep up with population growth in a county where developers are primary sources of political cash for local officials—partisan and non-partisan, city and county.

Even so, the McHenry County Board seems to be moving toward the logical use of the quarter of one percent sales tax imposed by the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rod Blagojevich in the RTA bailout deal.

The Daily Herald’s Chuck Keeshan reports the county board’s Transportation Committee recommends it all be spend on improving county roads.

The article quotes Transportation Committee Chairman Dan Shea to that effect.

I called Finance Committee Chairman Marc Munaretto seeking his committee’s take.

“Finance and Transportation are of one mind that the RTA sales tax money should be devoted to mitigating traffic congestion in McHenry County,” the Algonquin county board member told me.”

Instead of just passing what the Regional Transportation and Chicago Transit Authority folks said they needed, the RTA tax hike was doubled for the collar counties.

And, thanks to DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett and DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom and three GOP state senators from their county, the bill passed after an amendment was added to allow diversion of the county sales tax money to pay for law enforcement expenses.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna delivered a verbal slap at Schillerstrom for his promotion of passage of the RTA sales tax at the Decatur state convention.

But, McHenry County’s board members are promoting using the money for the purpose originally intended to mute the opposition of suburban county Republicans—roads.

Good for them!

It will be interesting to see if McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi and/or McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nystom seek a piece of the pie.

The pie, by the way, costs McHenry County taxpayers about $9 million per year.

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