PEORIA — With cash soon running out for federal highway projects, both a new plan and funding for it are critical, state Sen. Darin LaHood said Monday.
The Dunlap Republican laid out his views on the forthcoming debate after formally kicking off his campaign for Congress with a rally at the Lariat Steakhouse, promising to work on a bipartisan basis because “people want a solution to our transportation problems.”
Among the solutions that have been proposed for a system funded by a declining amount of motor fuel taxes are a per-mile-driven tax on vehicles, taxing energy production at the source, and increasing the motor fuel tax itself.
LaHood was cool to the per-mile-driven tax, describing it as “experimental at this time” and saying he needed to learn more about it. He did say the idea of motor fuel tax was something he intended “to look very, very carefully at.”
The candidate declined to say whether or not he would seek to have repainted the red walls of the current Capitol Hill office Rep. Aaron Schock’s successor will inherit through the start of 2017.
“That’ll be a good problem to solve if I’m fortunate enough to get elected, but I’ll worry about that if and when I’m elected,” LaHood said.
If elected, he said he would seek seats on both the transportation and infrastructure committee and the agriculture committee.
LaHood’s kick-off was part of a two-day, six-city tour of the 18th District that also included Bloomington and Springfield on Monday and will feature stops Tuesday in Jacksonville, Quincy and Macomb.
On the same day LaHood officially started his campaign, former state Rep. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, announced she would not vie for the position. That leaves Bloomington state Rep. Dan Brady and real estate executive Ed Brady, no relation, still weighing bids. Attorney Mark Zalcman of Normal is the only other announced candidate for the seat.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has five days after Rep. Aaron Schock’s resignation takes effect Tuesday to set the date for a special election and the primary that will precede it. LaHood said he expected the primary to occur in early June.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3135. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard