License renewal fee hike not outraging for some

By Anna Yee

November 29, 2012 Updated Nov 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Starting January first, Illinois drivers may have to pay a higher fee to renew their license plate stickers.

A proposed hike would increase the standard renewal cost from $99 to $101 per year.

(According to the Secretary of State's office, a standard renewal sticker currently costs $99; a renewal sticker for a personalized plate costs $106; and a renewal sticker for a vanity plate costs $112).

That $2 jump would apply to cars, vans, pickup trucks, and motorcycles, but not commercial or recreational vehicles.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to pass the bill, which the House already passed.

The bill now moves to the governor for approval.

Governor Quinn wants to use the extra funds, up to $22 million a year, to repair and maintain state parks, a move the Secretary of State's office claims is unnecessary, but area drivers say they will ultimately support.

"The money that used to go to other state parks is no longer there," said Teresa Smith, a licensed driver in Peoria. "It has been earmarked for other purposes. I think that it's healthier for people to be outside and to have recreational activities and to have things available to them and for it to be accessible for everyone."

"I don't want to give it away," said Brian Russell, also a licensed driver in Peoria, "but if they can say, 'Hey, we're going to give this money to whatever, and it's a good cause,' then I'm for it. But other than that, stop taking money from us. You know, that's just how I feel about it."

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), which manages 324 public park sites, has a $750 million backlog in maintenance and capital needs.

"We think $2 a year to enjoy all of our state parks is a very nominal fee that hopefully everyone can live with and still be able to enjoy these great places in Illinois," said Chris McCloud, a spokesperson for IDNR.

McCloud says if the bill passes, it could still take up to a year for parks to start receiving funds.

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