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Starved Rock Parking Fee Fails By Single Vote; Sponsor Will Try Again

Starved Rock State Park

A bill to impose a parking fee at Illinois’ most visited state park fell one vote short of passage in the Illinois Senate April 11. But the lawmaker behind it said she’ll keep trying because the need for the revenue is still there.  

State Senator Sue Rezin’s 38th District includes Starved Rock State Park. Traffic, parking and safety have all been concerns at the popular destination. The Morris Republican said the daily parking fee or annual pass called for in the bill would help pay to address those problems.       

“Work on the trails, work on the bridges, work on the lookouts in the canyons,” she said, “work with the local first responders with whatever they need to insure that the public is safe.”

Rezin said everyone realizes that the area’s infrastructure needs help.

“So many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle said, ‘Sue, this is a great idea, we support it,’” Rezin said.

But some lawmakers who supported the fee balked at an exemption for LaSalle county residents in the bill. Rezin said that cost it votes. She said the exemption was a way to offset the burden residents already bear for the extra traffic and first responder costs associated with the heavily used site. 

Illinois State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris)

Rezin said she’ll try again. She said lawmakers recognize they need a way to pay for upgrades.      

Rezin said Senate Pres. John Cullerton indicated he would work with her to get a version of the bill that could pass the General Assembly.

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