Sunday, February 25, 2007

Madigan's Plan to Stick It To Suburbanites

I don’t know why it took so long to figure out that House Speaker Mike Madigan has plans for suburban tollway motorists to finance his version of the Crosstown Expressway.

The scheme struck me Sunday night when I was reading Chicago Tribune transportation reporter John Hilkevitch’s article entitled,

New Crosstown project has key difference—tolls
Back in the 1970’s Glencoe Democratic Party State Representative Harold Katz passed a bill, which I was pleased to support, requiring that any new tollway pay its own way.

This law, of course, was repealed by DuPage County legislators when they wanted to build I-355.

So, toll tax payers on the Tri-State, the Northwest and the East-West Tollway have been forced to subsidize the old 355, as well as its extension into Will County.

Who cares that Northwest Tollway, Tri-State and DuPage portion users of the East-West motorists have paid for their road more than once?

Madigan obviously plans to use this Pate Philip technique to build the Crosstown.

Why not?

It’s free money, isn’t it?

And suburbanites won’t raise a stink.

There too busy earning money to continue paying tolls that should have been abolished decades ago.

Always more on McHenry County Blog.

6 comments:

Anonymous,  12:35 AM  

You have to use the revenues of the existing tolls in order to build the new ones so as to spur economic development. To expect that a new toll road pay for itself 100% is unreasonable.

Bill 6:41 AM  

Cal,
What you always neglect to mention when you start whining about how much suburbanites subsidize Chicago and Cook County is that suburbanites need the tollways and the RTA to get to Chicago to make their livings. Chicago is where the money comes from to support the suburban lifestyle.

Bill Baar 7:31 AM  

I have to give Madigan credit here. (I think Chicago needs the suburbs as much as the 'burbs need Chicago now by the way too.)

I think a cross town expressway will a bigger economic shot in the arm to whole region. A lot more than the min wage or big box ordinaces which were strictly symbolic gestures.

Transportations fundamental to our economy. This will be huge uplift to the west side too as long as the people dislocated don't get stiffed (look at the program for the folks displaced from Comisky Park to see the model for how it should work.)

We've got a legislature doing harm with the stem cell research bill. A place were gov doesn't belong.

Madigan is showing where the state should be.

the Other Anonymous,  7:36 AM  

Right now, the Toll Highway Authority is using Chicago dollars to finance its expansion. Under Open Road Tolling, the tolls for non-I-Pass lanes doubled. A small portion of the extra tolls go to help build the Open Road lanes; the biggest chunk goes to expanding the tollways.

Who pays most of the doubled tolls? Well, take a typical Chicagoan who generally avoids the crazy suburbs. (That's a joke, btw.) Many Chicagoans will end using the tollway something like 2-4 times a year. The initial investment for I-PASS is $50. At 40 cents a toll, that's 125 trips. In other words, an occasional user of the tollway -- most likely a city resident -- would need between 30 and 60 years to make I-PASS pay off. So, a rational Chicago resident will end using the cash lines, and paying doubled tolls.

I wonder what Cal thinks about Chicago dollars being used to build roads (and contribute to urban sprawl) in the suburbs?

Anonymous,  8:58 PM  

Many south and west suburbanites would take a Crosstown Expressway to Midway Airport, and for other trips to access the west and NW side of the city. A Crosstown Expressway might benefit them as much or more as it burdens them.

r_Imp,  8:02 PM  

Get Real, the Illinois Toll Highway Authority pays only itself.
If one looks at the $'s, most of its revenue is spent on salaries and pensions,(especially it's board), and very little in road cost.

What's Mike M's take in proposing this revised Toll Road?

Besides a 1 mile tack to the West of old proposed route, along Central Ave.) would displace less taxable business in the city, and help revitalize those near West suburbs which aren't paying homage to the Chicago Machine.

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