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Bill to fund Illinois state parks passes Illinois Senate 39 - 11

November 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM

The State Journal-Register

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday agreed to adding a $2 surcharge to license plate renewals that would inject new revenue into the Department of Natural Resources for the upkeep of state parks.

License plate renewal fees will go up by $2 if Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill.

The renewal fee will go from $99 to $101.

The Senate passed Senate Bill 1566 on a vote of 39 - 11 Wednesday.

DNR believes the legislation will raise $32 million annually.

DNR has seen its funding slashed in half over the last decade and has $750 million in overdue capital projects, according to director Marc Miller.

Miller released an e-mailed statement shortly after the bill’s passage:

“This vote is a victory for conservation and the environment in Illinois; it is also a victory for our economy and communities across Illinois that use and rely on the services the Illinois Department of Natural Resources provides on a daily basis,” he said. 

Miller said the new revenue will allow DNR to hire staff to maintain state parks, fix aging infrastructure and speed up regulatory functions.

“While it’s important to remember that capturing these new funds will take time, we will work as quickly as we can to put the new revenues toward their intended purpose,” he said.

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