Voters pass transportation amendment

Neya Thanikachalam, Editorial Editor

In last month’s general election, Illinois residents voted to approve a constitutional amendment that would place all transportation-related revenues into a “lockbox.”

The amendment will ensure that lawmakers only use transportation funds for their stated purpose.

“[This amendment will] sequester allocated funds for transportation,” social studies teacher Michael Bochenski said. “It will kind of ‘lock in’ that money.”

Illinois voters were able to vote on the amendment, formally known as the Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox, when they voted for the president.

According to the New York Times, 78.9 percent of Illinois residents voted to approve the amendment.

The Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment was a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, meaning that the state legislature had to first vote on it to put it on the state ballot.

In Illinois, amendments are only able to go onto the ballot after a 60 percent supermajority vote in one session of the state’s legislature. Then, in order for it to win, it must be approved by at least 60 percent of those voting.

It had been predicted that the amendment would be passed by both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. But the Chicago Tribune recommended that Illinois voters not approve the amendment.

In an editorial, the Chicago Tribune staff told readers to not approve the amendment, stating that although they wished lawmakers would stop dipping into money that was supposed to be used for transportation, the amendment would take away the flexibility to protect other needs if there was a fiscal emergency.

They believed that “transportation needs should not be enshrined in the constitution and prioritized above all others.”

Bochenski agrees, believing that it is important to not limit the state legislature.

“I’m fundamentally opposed to [this] piece of legislature,” Bochenski said. “Each state is sovereign, theoretically, and we elect these people, send them to Springfield, and then they are supposed to allocate these resources as elected officials, as best they see fit.”

However, the majority of Illinois voters did the opposite of what the Tribune and Bochenski suggested.

Senior Katie Beste explained why she voted to approve the amendment, stating that it just made more sense to her.

“I voted for the amendment to be passed because to me, it makes sense that money that is supposed to be put towards roads should actually be put towards roads,” Beste said. “My mom was on the other side of the argument, but [this side] made more sense to me.”