Letter: Tollways need to go

By on August 27, 2009

With the latest corruption coming out of Downers Grove there could not be a more opportune time for Gov. Quinn and our legislators to support legislation that would get rid of Illinois’ biggest embarrassment—the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.

Our past governors and state legislators have not kept the word of their 1950s colleagues when they said that once the financial bonds were paid off the roads would become freeways. From day one we have not seen anything but corruption come out of the toll authority Taj Mahal headquarters in Downers Grove. A few headliners included shady land deals where the director went to jail; employees were caught stealing tollbooth coins and motorist fines; a consultant was paid $100,000 to study if their top executives were underpaid; raises of 10 to 95 percent were given for 40 top executives while Illinois citizens are losing their jobs and the country’s economy is going to pot. There was even a time when the executive director used the toll authority’s helicopter to go see his girlfriend, and in 2006 over $40 million of tollbooth collections was fed to the state treasury to be used for non-road expenditures. The list goes on and on and on.

A toll/tax is the least efficient way to pay for roads. Paying a toll/tax is unfair to the citizens living in the northern part of our state. While northern citizens are being double taxed to use their highways, tax money that they pay at the fuel pump is being used to pay for highways in mid and southern Illinois.

Another public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9. I ask you for what? How many public hearings do we have to have about toll authority corruption before our legislators take their heads out of the sand? This public hearing, as were the others, is nothing more than window dressing. They already know that the toll authority breeds corruption and they should know by now that the only way to correct the problem is to get rid of the source—the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. We don’t need or want this embarrassment for Illinois.

There is a new website with a “Get rid of the tolls” petition for Illinois drivers to let their legislators know that it is time for the toll authority to go—along with their unfair toll/tax: http://notolls-il.com.
Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove