Is the guv really thinking about leasing the tollways?
Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Monday heâ€™s waiting to see how Indianaâ€™s experiment of leasing its toll road fares before deciding whether to act on a suggestion to do the same for the suburban tollway.
â€œStay tuned,â€ said Blagojevich Monday. â€œThis is an idea that weâ€™ve talked about for years, actually. Youâ€™ve got to explore all kinds of creative ways to utilize the assets of the state. It sure is better than putting more burdens on the hard-working people and asking them for their tax dollars.â€
Indiana is getting $3.8 billion for leasing its toll road to a foreign business group, and Blagojevich said heâ€™s â€œlooking with great interestâ€ at how it plays out. Critics blast provisions in the Indiana contract that will allow the new operator to raise tolls by 2 percent a year after 2009.
State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat, has suggested the idea of leasing or selling Illinoisâ€™ tollway system, but Blagojevich said he wonâ€™t consider it until next year at the earliest. Schoenberg said heâ€™s working independently on the idea, asking a state agency to look at how much a tollway lease could bring into state coffers.
What do you think of this idea?