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State Highway Funding

How Illinois pays for projects.

Transportation projects have traditionally been paid for out of user fees like gas taxes and vehicle fees --- those who use the transportation system pay for its construction and upkeep.  The state highway program includes funding from both federal and state transportation user fees, chief among them the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents/gallon and the state gas tax of 19 cents/gallon.

The following graphic demonstrates a simplified flow of highway funds from these state and federal sources to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) highway program.  Note that this graphic only includes ongoing revenue sources.  Intermittent state bond programs provide additional resources for the state transportation system. Click on the pulsing circles below  for additional pop-up details.  For analysis of the two most recent state capital programs -- Jump Start and Illinois Jobs Now! -- please see this CMAP Policy Update.

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Revenue Flow

  • Motor vehicle licenses
    • Standard vehicle registration fees are currently $101 for passenger vehicles and light trucks. Heavy truck fees vary by weight. Note that other registration fees, such as certificates of title, are not included in this flow chart.
  • Local MFT sharing
    • After a variety of diversions, 54.4% of the balance is allocated to local governments. Of this portion, 49.1% is distributed to municipalities based on population, 16.74% to counties over 1,000,000 in population, 18.27% to counties under 1,000,000 in population based on motor vehicle license fees received, and 15.89% to townships based on mileage of township roads.
  • MFT diversions
    • By law, the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) Fund directs $420,000/month to the State Boating Act Fund, $3.5M/month to the Grade Crossing Protection Fund, and $30M/year to the Vehicle Inspection Fund. The MFT also covers administrative and supervision costs, refunds, the Court of Claims, and payments owed to other jurisdictions under the International Fuel Tax Agreement.
  • MFT split
    • After the above diversions and allocations to local governments, 37% of the remaining funds are sent to the State Construction Account Fund and 63% to the Road Fund.
  • MAP-21
    • The current federal transportation authorization law, MAP-21, apportions highway funds to States.
  • Motor vehicle licenses split
    • After deducting for debt service and other uses, including the $2 surcharge for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the $1 surcharge for Illinois State Police vehicles, 37% of the remaining funds are sent to the State Construction Account Fund and 63% to the Road Fund.
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