Letter: Toll authority board meeting demonstrates state’s waste

By on October 8, 2009

As a spectator attending a recent board meeting at the toll authority headquarters in Downers Grove I have to admit that I was impressed with all the seemingly influential, important board members.

In addition to the eight or 10 board members, the room was full of toll authority staff at a ratio that seemed to be three- or four-to-one. There was also a small delegation representing surrounding towns with an agenda to influence the board regarding their road needs; and there were two from the media.

As I was sitting through this three-hour meeting, I was thinking to myself, “What a waste of time of these influential, highly paid business men and women.”

The agenda was very elementary as they discussed the advantages of hot asphalt vs. cold asphalt to repair potholes and then spending more time talking about the life span of a road before its needing to be replaced. Another item included workmen’s compensation—how and when to pay. And then there was “employee training” to minimize injury on the job. In recent years, it seems that there have been a number of claims from employees hurting their backs while lifting coins in the counting room. There were other superfluous items on the agenda, but I left at noon, not able to give any more of my time.

It’s hard to believe that the Illinois Department of Transportation didn’t solve pothole and workmen’s comp problems many years ago and that today they are not working on essential road needs. By having a second department of transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, the cost for Illinois citizens is in the millions of toll/tax dollars collected each year to pay just for the administration cost. The dollar amount alone in salaries for all these people, board members, toll employees and others attending these meetings, must be catastrophic.

These board meetings are open to the public starting at 9 a.m. on the last Thursday of each month. Go see for yourself what I’m talking about.

We need to tell Governor Quinn and our state legislators that they need to put an end to this shameful waste. Illinois citizens can find more information by visiting www.notolls-il.com.

Russell Johnson
Sugar Grove