Saturday, January 27, 2007

Toll Bridges Across the Fox

How desperate must Kane and McHenry Counties be for additional road capacity.

McHenry County has enacted a 4-cent local Motor Fuel Tax.

Kane County levies 2-cents.

Although both counties have experienced incredible growth, state government has been unwilling to step up to plate, so to speak.

That hasn’t stopped state government from making little-used highways, such as Route 67, which runs from East Moline almost to East St. Louis four-lanes. At some points, the last time I checked there were fewer than 5,000 cars per day.

Usually, 4-lanes are considered merited when the traffic count reaches 20,000 vehicles each day.

So, as with mental health services and schools, if McHenry County is willing to tax it citizens more than other counties, it surely is less deserving of state aid.

To put it bluntly, politicians figure we don’t need help.

So, I guess I should not be surprised that Kane County is considering doubling its county MFT so it matches McHenry County’s.

But, Elgin’s Daily Courier had this shocker Thursday:

Kane County is considering tolls on the bridges it clearly needs.
Do those of us who live in the Fox River counties just look like sheep waiting to be sheared?

Or have we grown so much tax wool for the rest of the state that it is taken for granted that we are stupid enough to build toll bridges across our little river.

Missouri officials considered a toll bridge over the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area, but Illinois politicians won’t stand for that. A semi-rational argument is that would just keep the non-toll bridges overcrowded.

Anyone want to bet that toll bridges over the Fox won’t be used less than nearby non-toll bridges?

Or are we so desperate that we’ll pay them to get home faster?

= = = = =

The drawing of the proposed Stearns Road bridge comes from the Kane County Transportation Department web page. More news on McHenry County Blog this weekend.


Bill Baar 7:20 AM  

From yesterday's Daily Herald

The pastries may have been easy to swallow, but some of the ideas passed along by a GOP state senator weren’t at the annual gathering of local legislators hosted by the Kane County Board.

State Sen. Chris Lauzen insisted the state continues to be committed to funding the county’s transportation projects. To claim otherwise, he said, “diminishes us.”

The Aurora Republican was reacting to recent comments by county board Chairman Karen McConnaughay that the county ranks at the bottom of the list in terms of state transportation dollars.

“Kane County has received a disproportionately low share of available state funds and received the least amount of state funding in the northeast Illinois region over the last two years,” McConnaughay wrote in a memo to state lawmakers gathered at the breakfast meeting.

Lauzen responded to that as he was preparing to leave early from Wednesday’s breakfast, held at the county government center, to attend a funeral. He distributed financial statements to county board members gathered around the table showing that Kane County was in the top half of the state’s 102 counties in terms of state road funding in 2005.

After he left, McConnaughay, a St. Charles Republican, admonished those gathered to “be careful with how you read numbers.”

Anonymous,  9:18 AM  

Be careful how you read numbers?

Should we be careful when we read the numbers that the jail construction project is over $11 million dollars over projected costs...and still rising?

Should we be careful when an animal control shelter projected costs have doubled and now every city in the county may have to pick up the costs attached to it in increased user fees?

Mrs. McConnaughay is at the helm of a spending spree and supports it by hiring cronies and consultants faster than we can pay for them.

The north end can't even get the bridges we need but she is counting on us to pay tolls.

Maybe the numbers won't lie on re-election day either.

Anonymous,  1:08 AM  

Hmm...last time I was at a meeting w/Lauzen he was skewering the Blagojevich administration on how little money they were distributing to Republican districts. Now he says that Kane is getting a fair shake?

And...maybe the reason US 51, US 67 and IL 336 are getting widened, and the suburbs are standing still, is that there is little opposition to road projects in western and southern IL. Try to do anything with transportation in NE IL and there is immediately an opposition group or 2 formed and much political posturing.

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