More truckers band together to bypass Mount Vernon fuel stops

| 11/14/2008

Since two Texas-based trucking companies announced last week they were no longer going to fuel up in Mount Vernon, IL, because of the 2-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel – but not on gasoline – several other trucking companies and owner-operators have made the same decision.

Even though some admit they may be taking a risk and paying a little more for fuel a little further down the road, truckers said they are bypassing Mount Vernon because they are tired of being “picked on” as a revenue source while their trucking businesses struggle to stay afloat.

In September, the Mount Vernon City Council imposed the tax on diesel and an increase in their restaurant/beverage tax – both affecting truckers – which is expected to generate nearly $900,000 in additional revenue. Mount Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley told Land Line Magazine in August the money was to be used to fund an overpass interchange project.

However, Mount Vernon City Manager Ronald R. Neibert told Land Line Magazine recently that the additional revenue was needed for the city’s emergency services. He said in the past two years the Mount Vernon Police Department assisted truckers at least 784 times, including those who “have been robbed or harassed by prostitutes and drug dealers.”

“Through these increases the council tried to ‘balance the burden’ across the board,” Neibert said. “While part of the revenue will be used to support infrastructure growth in the city, part of it will also be used to allow the city to maintain its current level of services.”

One trucker wrote Land Line that the additional money for protective services would not be needed if the city “did their job in the first place by eliminating the prostitution and drug dealing” so that truckers or the victims of these crimes wouldn’t have to “foot the bill.”

OOIDA Senior Member David Schnautz of Clark Freight Lines told Land Line recently that he’s received nothing but support from truckers who are supporting their decision to bypass Mount Vernon for their fuel needs.

“As tough as it is for us to make a living in the trucking industry, there is no point in giving away 2 cents on every gallon when we can fuel a few miles down the road for a cheaper price,” he said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer