Quinn signs $2 license plate sticker fee hike into law

Tribune reporter

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois drivers will pay $2 more for their license plate stickers next year thanks to a bill Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed Friday to pay for better upkeep and care of state parks.

The practical effect of the new law is that drivers can expect the annual sticker for a regular license plate to hit $101 in March, when the first batch of renewals will carry the price hike, according to Secretary of State Jesse White’s office.

Quinn supported the fee increase to generate more money to fix crumbling trails, leaky roofs, potholes and broken toilets in a state park system that’s been subject to heavy funding cuts the past dozen years.

In the Senate, the law was championed by Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, who is seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat once held by former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. In the House, Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, was the sponsor.

The plates will let Illinoisans into parks for free, but the Department of Natural Resources is exploring how it might develop a plan to charge out-of-state visitors.

The park system estimates it needs as much as $750 million for repairs. The fee increase is expected to raise more than $20 million a year. The agency plans to put half of the money into construction projects and the rest into staff and programs.

White opposed the bill because he believed the $99 fee for an annual renewal of a regular plate was high enough, said spokesman Henry Haupt. The increase will apply to plates for motorcycles, pick-up trucks, vans and cars. It won’t be imposed on commercial or recreational vehicles.

Twitter: @RayLong

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