Lockbox amendment referendum passes on Illinois ballot


Colin Boyle/The Daily Northwestern

A voter casts her ballot on Tuesday. Illinois voters passed a constitutional amendment that limits how legislators can use funds from transportation revenue.

Robin Opsahl, City Editor

Illinois passed a constitutional amendment that will block legislators from using transportation revenue funds from being reallocated to anything outside their outlined purpose.

The Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment won by 79 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, with 98 percent of the state reporting, the Associated Press reported.

The referendum vote was put on the 2016 election ballot, listed alongside federal and state races. The Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution will be amended to include a line that does away with legislators’ ability to allocate funds intended for transportation to other uses.

Now, no funds derived from taxes, excises, fees or license taxes related to registration, operation or use of vehicles or from the use of any roadways “shall be expended for purposes other than as provided.”

Those who opposed the amendment said it would hurt the state in cases of emergency, when funds may need to be reallocated to other areas of the budget. However, proponents argued that Illinois roads are in a dangerous state of disrepair, and the lockbox amendment was necessary to ensure funds collected from motor vehicle related activities go towards road maintenance.

The amendment passed through the Illinois House with a vote of 98-4 and through the Illinois Senate with a vote of 55-0. Both Maryland and Wisconsin have passed similar measures.

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