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Proposed bill would require state to sell 25 percent of vehicle fleet

SPRINGFIELD — State vehicles that don’t get much use are on the chopping block in a proposal in the Illinois House.

The State Journal-Register reports the bill would require the state to sell vehicles driven fewer than 7,000 miles each year, with the exception of police and emergency vehicles. At such mileage levels, a 2011 audit found it would be more cost-effective to reimburse state employees to drive their own cars.

According to the audit’s sampling, 25 percent of the state’s vehicle fleet was driven fewer than 7,000 miles yearly.

“We’re going to be like a watchdog over it to make sure the cars aren’t just sitting there being wasted money,” said Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, who is the lead sponsor of the bill.

There are about 12,000 vehicles in the state’s fleet, according to Barb Bonansinga, acting deputy director for agency services at the Department of Central Management Services. She said some have special equipment that would make them difficult to replace with personal vehicles.

Individuals are assigned to about 2,000 vehicles. Bonansinga said most of the state’s fleet is made up of pool vehicles, and that it’s sometimes cheaper to have people drive those than their own vehicles.

State workers are reimbursed at 57.5 cents a mile, which is also the federal rate.

“Who says you have to reimburse at the federal rate?” said Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, who chairs the House State Government Administration Committee. “I don’t know of one private company that does.”

The bill passed the House committee last week. A similar measure passed both the House and Senate last year, but a slight change was made in the Senate version. It wasn’t heard again by the House before the legislature adjourned