The Illinois Tollway Highway Authority is likely this week to approve a 90 percent increase in tolls for its Northeastern Illinois network of highways. This, of course, is nonsense because the reason for the increase is political payoff for suburban legislators that caved in to O'Hare Airport Expansion. They now can crow that got the completion of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway and the airport "bypass road," but they can't duck the fact that their dealing will cost tollway users 90 percent more.
One of the opponents of the increase is Taxpayers United of America, which poses these great questions:
1) The Jane Addams Tollway is in poor condition, and we do not dispute that it needs repair. However, before we pay almost double in tolls, we want to know:
Has the resurfacing project going on since April 2011 been a complete waste of our money? Will resurfaced areas have to be ripped up in order to rebuild? Would it not be more cost-effective in the short run to complete the “quick fix” resurfacing and hold the rebuild for better economic times? Can we trust the Authority to spend the funds properly and to use a fair and transparent bidding process instead of paying more for well-connected contractors?
2) Why do we need the Elgin-O’Hare expansion? Until the western terminal of the airport is built, this is just a $3.6 billion (or as much as $4.3 billion) “Road to Nowhere”!
3) Why do we need to expand Route 53 for the “Illiana Expressway” when the Illiana does not yet exist?
Cal Skinner, a former state representative and conductor of the McHenry County blog also has an extremely pertinent question: "Why aren't Republicans bashing Quinn about his 88 percent toll tax hike proposal?"