SPRINGFIELD — The cost to ride an off-road vehicle is about to rise for many Illinoisans.
As part of an effort to raise money for state parks and other outdoor activities, officials are in the final stages of approving the rules for a $15 annual fee on most all-terrain vehicles.
The new permit for four-wheelers is expected to go into effect Jan. 1 pending the outcome of a hearing next month by a special panel of lawmakers who are reviewing the proposed rules.
The new fee, which could raise as much as $800,000 per year, is similar to programs already underway in Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, said Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris McCloud.
It represents just one of a number of changes in fees targeted at the state’s underfunded outdoor programs.
For example, lawmakers last year approved a $2 increase on Illinois license plates to help pay for maintenance and upkeep of state parks. The $20 million raised from the license plate fee will be combined with specific user fees to generate as much as $33 million annually.
McCloud said proceeds from the permit fee will be spent on upgrading off-road trail areas and for law enforcement purposes.
Not every owner of an ATV will have to buy a permit sticker.
Among the exemptions are golf course owners, who will not have to buy stickers for their fleets of carts. The same goes for farmers and ranchers who use ATVs on their property.
“We’re trying to exempt businesses from this law,” McCloud said.
People who ride on property where they reside also are exempted. However, those who ride four-wheelers on property they own but don’t live on would be required to pay the fee.
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