SPRINGFIELD | Millions of Illinois motorists will avoid paying a higher license plate renewal fee in the coming months.
The Illinois secretary of state’s office reports that Gov. Pat Quinn’s signing of a $2 increase in the fee came too late to notify drivers who need to renew their licenses in January and February.
That means they’ll be paying $99 instead of $101.
The reprieve won’t last long.
“We’re shooting for March 1st,” said Secretary of State spokesman David Druker.
The additional fee, which officially goes into effect Jan. 1, is aimed at generating cash to help fix the state park system overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The estimated $32 million raised will pay for repairs to roofs, roads and trails which have been left undone during a more than decade-long decline in state funding under Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn.
DNR estimates the backlog of repairs could top $750 million.
Agency spokesman Chris McCloud said the delay in collecting the new fee is not a concern.
“This has been our understanding all along,” McCloud said in an email Monday.
Quinn, who signed the fee hike into law on Dec. 7, supported the increase. Secretary of State Jesse White, who must collect the money, opposed the hike, saying motorists are already paying enough for their plates.
The increases apply to cars, motorcycles and pick-up trucks, but not on the RVs that might use the park roads and campgrounds. It also does not apply to commercial vehicles.