Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » More Tollway troubles
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
More Tollway troubles

Monday, Feb 27, 2006

The Sun-Times alleges more pay to play at the Tollway.

A company whose owners donated heavily to Gov. Blagojevich has seen a $150,000 state contract to package and deliver tollway I-Passes to Jewel-Osco stores balloon into a $7 million deal despite not being the lowest bidder.

Originally hired in 2003 for a six-month job involving just 25,000 I-Pass transponders, IGOR the Watchdog Corp. has since helped place the wallet-sized devices in more than 1.1 million cars and trucks through sales at Jewel.

The tollway twice extended IGOR’s contract without rebidding it and significantly upped its dollar value on five separate occasions. All this was perfectly legal and absolutely necessary, tollway officials say.

“The changes in the IGOR contract are directly tied to the unprecedented growth of the I-Pass program,” said Joelle McGinnis, spokeswoman for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. “Since retail sales and the addition of more I-Pass-only lanes were unprecedented efforts, the tollway had no way to gauge how much the demand for transponders would increase.”

And then there’s this brick story that refuses to die.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Judy Baar Topinka on Sunday alleged that politics and campaign donations to Gov. Rod Blagojevich played a role in the state’s decision to use bricks to build expressway sound walls.

State Treasurer Topinka said the Illinois Toll Highway Authority’s decision to switch from concrete to brick sound barriers came after the local bricklayers union donated $20,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign.

“How can the governor continue to sell Illinois … in exchange for campaign contributions and not expect to get caught?” Topinka said in a written statement.

But a Blagojevich campaign spokesman said the contributions have nothing to do with the decisions made about the materials used in the tollway system.

And this.

The state’s top Republicans are calling for an investigation into a recent tollway decision to start making sound walls with brick instead of cheaper precast concrete.

Several state lawmakers Thursday asked Attorney General Lisa Madigan to see if the change in tollway policy has anything to do with a $20,000 contribution from the bricklayers union to the campaign fund of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“They believe there is a process here that should have been done,” said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson.

And this.

So the bricklayers win.

Two years ago, a tollway reform bill stalled in the General Assembly, due in part to a requirement that sound barriers along the tollway be made of brick instead of cheaper, precast concrete.

“Graft!” tollway reformers shouted.

“Wasteful!” penny-pinchers cried.

“Sham!” watchdog groups clamored.

But in 2006, everyone apparently came to their senses. Brick is good.

According to tollway officials, brick won’t cost that much more than concrete, and more people will be put to work — mostly bricklayers — which is good for the state. Besides, brick is prettier.

Long live brick!

“It’s favors for insiders, and this time it’s the bricklayers,” said lieutenant governor candidate Joe Birkett who dubbed it “pay to lay.”

Meanwhile, the tollway is requiring towns along the planned Interstate 355 extension from Bolingbrook to New Lenox to contribute at least $20 million of local taxpayer money toward interchanges near their towns.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Stosh - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 6:18 am:

    Who cares about the bricks? The tollway is flush with money from increasing tolls. And they will be getting money from local communities to build the interchanges.

    Besides, isn’t the state going to sell the tollway anyway?

  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 6:25 am:

    “…According to tollway officials, brick won’t cost that much more…”

    How much more? Oh, THAT much more.

    POA is the bricklayer and taxpayers are the bricks.

  3. - vole - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 6:28 am:

    Bricks as cheap as concrete? Hard to imagine. Like to see some real numbers.

    This would not be the first time that specs were written specifically to benefit an interest group financially. Or when specs were elevated far beyond the base needed to get the job done. Unfortunately there are too many public servants who cannot discern the difference. Sometimes the goal is to simply get the money spent in the timeframe that it is allocated.

    But then again, those brick layers are helping to create $100,000 per year jobs by buying burgers at the local McDonalds.

  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 7:22 am:

    If it takes one person to lay one brick, this thing will create millions (dare I say billions?) of jobs.

  5. - Cassandra - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 7:42 am:

    I don’t think the general citizenry is as aware as we should be of the huge influence of unions on political and governmental outcomes and on the cost of government. This rather small issue
    highlights the extent to which government is not run for the benefit of taxpayers but for the benefit of interest groups like unions, which are just as corrupt and sleazy as the private enterprises that pay to play. Unions pay to play too…a lot. And, for the most part, it’s the middle class taxpayer who pays the freight.

    As a taxpayer, when you see a union involved in some issue, assume they want your money, just like the rapacious Rezko, Kjellander, et al types.

    The solution is to prohibit any campaign contributions from potential contractors and from unions. Illinois is so corrupt, that won’t happen, though.

  6. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 8:58 am:

    Once again he produces enough bull manure to take care of all the farm fields south of I-80 and once again he thinks people are so stupid that they believe it.I hope that this kind of stuff will push this state into some of the toughest laws on contributions in the nation.That is were we need to be leading instead of one of the most corrupt states in the nation.

  7. - can't imagine - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 9:35 am:

    A couple bigger issues…FIRST…why did Scott Okun the IPass director take a fall? You really don’t think he would do this himself do you?
    Secondly, Marilyn Johnson as acting director?? OH my god. where are all the tollway directors or are they puppets for da GOV???

    oh what about Pace bus getting free use of the tollway??? what’s that all about? would that have happened in a non election year?
    Maybe Rod wants to get close to the bus drivers pension funds?

  8. - ISU REP - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 10:05 am:

    Wait for tolls to increase again to pay for this new brick…I can see the headline now “Tollway short on funds, Tolls to double for I-Pass users” You know atleast if you’re going to graft atleast make a better attempt to conceal it. Blago can’t govern and he certainly can’t hide his corrupt practices. The only thing he can do is make excuses.

  9. - ROD V. LISA V. MIKE - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 10:44 am:

    It sounds to me that in the coming weeks, Rod and Lisa might have discrepancies. As she is already allegedly investigating his office. The newspapers should pressure her for a determination of her “alleged” investigation. If not place pressure on Lisa, then place pressure on Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Divine for the results of his alleged investigation. It time for these people to talk now and not hold their determinations to the alleged investigations until after December 2006.

    Then as Rod and Lisa falls out, then you have Michael Madigan, the Chairman of Blago’s camp. What side does he chose; his daughter or the person that he wants to remain Governor so that the power stays in the party?

  10. - Reddbyrd - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 11:32 am:

    Can’t stop laughing. Which GOP(as in MOPE) rocket scientist sent BrickheadJoe out to investigate the brick walls? Talk about dumb. They really take the cake.
    Anybody ask why AccordianGal gave the Brickhead $70+K last week. Allowance? Tollway change?
    Notice he also got some cash from the same lawyers who get the “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. That sure looks like reform to me.

  11. - Phocion - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 11:33 am:

    I am glad that the government is insisting on more aesthetically pleasing materials. Many people spend hours a day on the toll roads. Many other residents who live nearby have to look at these walls.

    Isn’t it important for government to take the lead in promoting a better looking environment. What do you people want, the State Capitol to made of drivet because it’s cheaper that way?

  12. - ISU REP - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 11:56 am:

    LOL wow, Phocion works for the brick layers union…actually if they really want it to be pleasintg they should put up plasma screen tv’s i mean we don’t want it to look cheap after all. May i remind everyone that these really aren’t brick bricks, they are cement blocks shaped like bricks…can’t we just pay someone to chisel the existing walls to make them look like that…Yet another expense that’s riddiculous…they should use that money for something useful like free tanks of gas or car washes for ipass users! I mean if were going to waste money lets do it on something we all can appreciate…(note the sarcasm. P.S. if you didn’t want to look at the walls maybe you shouldn’t live by a tollway and perhaps you should spend more time focusing on the road then looking at the walls. You must be the guy whose always in front of me in the left hand on 355 doing 55, HAH I knew i’d find you eventually! :)

  13. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 12:13 pm:

    You can do almost any design with cement a lot cheaper than block laying and the colors are so identical that at 55 you would not notice the difference.I can see now why my insurance is so high all these people rubber necking at all these walls running into people.Just to be fair to the Governor we will ask him to let one of his no bid contracts to one of his out-of-state friends to do a study.

  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 12:48 pm:

    Birkett is not looking at bricks issue. Wrong again, Reddbyrd-brain.

  15. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 12:50 pm:

    How long until the Tribune, Daily
    Herald and/or S-T do a study on brick vs. concrete? It shouldn’t take long to do a quickie, unbiased comparison based on estimates from local construction companies.

    It does look bad that this largesse is happening at the same time the Tollway is expecting that $20 million payment from the I-355 communities.

    And I’ve seen some VERY aesthetically pleasing pre-cast concrete walls lately.

  16. - Sound Reasoning - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 12:58 pm:

    This is not really surprising news to find out yet another example of an entity making a sizeable contribution to the Blago campaign and then shortly thereafter receiving favorable treatment from an agency under Blago’s control.

    This just seems to be the latest case, among dozens of others, where a direct line is documented between contributions to Blago’s campaign fund and lucrative contracts from entities under the Governor’s control. In every single instance the response from the Governor’s spokesperson has been ‘there is no connection between the campaign contribution and the awarding of the contract’.

    If the citizens of this once great state believe that worn response then we deserve no better then our current Governor.

  17. - donchicago48 - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 1:10 pm:

    Blago uses the Illinois Tollway system as his own taxpayer-financed advertising agency. Anyone who travels the tollways or visits the tollway website, or receives email updates from the tollway system repeatedly sees Blago’s name and/or picture prominently displayed. His campaign should pay back the tollway system for the blatant advertising.

  18. - Papa Legba - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 3:27 pm:

    Reddbyrd- Since you are talking about people donating money to candidates they know or have ties to, I want to say one thing. Those who support candidates who live in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones.

  19. - NIEVA - Monday, Feb 27, 06 @ 6:24 pm:

    Instead of stones how about bricks?

  20. - yeahipayem - Friday, Mar 31, 06 @ 5:59 am:

    Tell me again, why did we need walls? I don’t remember fixing every other issue we had.

  21. - Truth B Told - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 1:22 am:

    All of the cost estimates and events regarding the brick/block wall can be found in one location, the design engineering firm documents all of ISTHA changes and directions to cover themselves. I’m sure they have some unbelievable stories. Look no further!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Illinois payrolls were up just 0.5 percent last year
* Vitriol continues in Durkin's primary race
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Judge clears courtroom in Rauner lawsuit hearing
* You can't "fully inform" voters without money
* State agrees to a $400 million consent decree
* Rate Prizker's new online ad
* Rauner gets another property tax press pop
* Emanuel pokes Rauner over Amazon comments
* Rauner's new Pritzker ad cost just $11,900
* Kennedy unveils health care plan
* Gov. Rauner gets his own blog
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






* Rauner trash talks his own state—as Amazon look.....
* Rate Prizker's new online ad - The Capitol Fax .....
* Rauner gets another property tax press pop - Th.....
* Emanuel pokes Rauner over Amazon comments - The.....
* Rauner's new Pritzker ad cost just $11900 - The.....
* Details Sought on Gov's Plan to Fix IL Veterans.....

* Illinois court again upholds Drew Peterson murder conviction
* Man sues driver in crash that killed pregnant wife, 3 sons
* Court in Chicago to hear arguments on sanctuary cities
* Ex-mayor of Chicago suburb pleads guilty in bribery scheme
* University of Illinois board chairman re-elected to 2nd term
* Grants will help students pay for trip to Lincoln museum
* Court in Chicago to hear arguments on sanctuary cities
* 30-year sentence for man in sexual assault of elderly woman
* Champaign man pleads guilty in '85 murder case
* Champaign man pleads guilty in '85 murder case

* U of I trustees approve 4th-straight tuition freeze
* Rauner to air extended ad of Pritzker, Blagojevich on wiretap
* Mendoza to keynote Women's March Saturday in Springfield
* Chicago mayor vows to step up Amazon second headquarters bid
* Under the Dome Podcast: More Blago-Pritzker talk, Rauner confirms Duke is racist
* U of I withdrew 35 job offers after background checks
* Frerichs: Can't get tax break for using college savings plan on private K-12 tuition
* Illinois governor to air extended ad of rival, Blagojevich on wiretap
* Chicago a finalist for Amazon's second headquarters
* 2 Illinois governor candidates spend $26M in last 3 months

* Coming to the Gold Coast: a boutique and cafe
* Discover topping credit-card rivals in growth—and bad loans
* What should a corporation value above all else?
* Discover topping credit-card rivals in growth—and bad loans
* United to offer upgraded economy section on some global flights

* Little Village family of slain woman needs us to show up for them
* Actor Bradford Dillman, starred in ‘The Way We Were,’ on Broadway, dies at 87
* 63-year-old man reported missing from Gresham
* LETTERS: To improve special education in CPS, collaborate with parents
* Let Dreamers stay ‘in the only country we’ve ever known’
* Woman hit, killed by vehicle in Dolton
* Fall Out Boy ‘Mania’ to hit Wrigley Field
* Man killed in County Club Hills shooting
* Jeremy Roenick rips NHL fans who are critical of Kid Rock
* Horoscope for Jan. 20, 2018

* Trump, Schumer meet at White House as a divided congress hurtles toward government shutdown
* Woman carjacked at gunpoint while waiting to pick up grandchildren at Portage Park school
* Torture was 'severe, pervasive, prolonged' in house where California parents starved their 13 children
* Elmwood Park woman found dead after a week in snow-covered car; no foul play suspected: police
* Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber to Larry Nassar: I won't live as a victim any longer
* Brian Urlacher likes the Bears' Matt Nagy hire, and, oh yeah, he's a mountain biker now
* Father of Maine South basketball player dies in car crash on way to son's game
* Buyers spend $10 million on historic Winnetka mansion, then apply to demolish it
* Help Squad: Diminished value claim in car-sharing now a legal tangle
* Inmate accused of exposing himself in front of girl at Cook County Jail

» Sheriff Offers To Help Review Police Shootings In Suburban Cook County
» A Prescription For Fruits And Veggies: One Solution To Food Insecurity in Illinois
» A Call For Transparency
» 2 Illinois Governor Candidates Spend $26M In Last 3 Months
» State Board of Education: Double School Funding Now
» Lawmakers Demand Fast Internet For Rural Schools
» 2 Dreamers Discuss Helping Other Immigrants Amid Uncertainty
» Rauner Spokesman: 'Governor Believes David Duke Is A Racist'
» Rauner Signs Law To Help Women Behind Bars
» A Poor Neighborhood In Chicago Looks To Cuba To Fight Infant Mortality

* Point: Trump's stance gives hope to an Iranian majority that longs for freedom
* Counterpoint: Trump's assertive policies rally Iranian support for the Ayatollahs
* Thumbs Up: To investing in infrastructure
* Eugene Robinson: An administration with no credibility cannot lead
* U of I trustees approve 4th-straight tuition freeze
* Rauner to air extended ad of Pritzker, Blagojevich on wiretap
* Mendoza to keynote Women's March Saturday in Springfield
* Chicago mayor vows to step up Amazon second headquarters bid
* Under the Dome Podcast: More Blago-Pritzker talk, Rauner confirms Duke is racist
* U of I withdrew 35 job offers after background checks

* WHO Radio brings tractor ride to QC
* Family of I-55 crash victim sues trucker, his business, and the construction company
* Noon update: Mostly sunny, American Pickers' 8th season and Linda Cook's instant reactions
* Voters crown North Scott student champ of Best Deer Photo Contest
* Girl hit, pinned underneath car near Moline middle school Friday
* Facebook is changing its news feed. Here's how to keep up with local news
* Vet center grows by leaps, bounds
* Do you favor legalizing marijuana? Then here’s whom to vote for.
* HHS girls win 12 straight, clinch share of MVC
* This Belleville business helps you relive your childhood and meet your sports heroes

* Schaumburg Renaissance lobby, lounge to get $1.1 million renovation
* Latest: Raisman: Nassar taken down by 'army' of survivors
* Color galore in Paris as menswear gets bold
* Sister-in-law's FaceTiming ruins New Year's Eve
* Oak Brook company sells Starbucks-anchored center

* Suburban Democrats line up to challenge Ro...
* Dissident artist Ai Weiwei and US Rep. Ran...
* Kane County assessor: No guarantee your ta...
* Tioga State Bank president and CEO address...
* This RSS feed URL is deprecated
* Bipartisan Illinois criticism follows Trum...
* Time Magazine's Powerful Cover Features Fi...
* Letters to the editor: Election commission...
* Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and...
* Lawmakers back renaming Warrenville post o...

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* Republican leaders pressure members agains......
* The “Shithole” Cover-up - Slate Magazine...
* Republican leaders pressure members agains......
* Republican leaders pressure members agains......

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* Russia: Vancouver meeting is aggravating s......

* St. Vincent at the Chicago Theatre, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend
* From the archive: What we've learned in the year since the last Women's March
* Durkin attacks Burr Ridge in GOP primary campaign; village board threatens lawsuit
* Chicago makes Amazon cut - but could the city's workforce meet the demands?
* King.
* Ground Breaking for Chicago Public Library Whitney Young Media Center Renovation
* Ahead of Janus, union haters are collecting teacher names.
* Illinois has plenty of other dysfunctional nursing homes Governor Rauner should visit
* Bay Area bassist Lisa Mezzacappa emerges as a dynamic bandleader on two recent albums
* Guitarist Randy Randall on how No Age have adapted to family time—and what their odd new album title means

* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* Razer Phone 2 may launch in August alongside Project Linda
* Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of watchOS 4.2.2 to Developers
* [Opinion] Let’s face it: Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro was always doomed in the US
* Hopes for Razer Project Linda, crisis at LG Mobile | #PNWeekly 288 (LIVE at 3p ET)
* New Galaxy S9 hardware details rumored
* OnePlus confirms credit card security breach, up to 40k users ‘may be’ affected
* OnePlus confirms up to 40,000 customers were impacted by credit card hack

* WLS parent company looking to end White Sox radio deal
* Inbox: Who replaces Rodon in the rotation?
* 2018 South Side Sox Hall of Fame Ballot
* With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy
* Collins ranked MLB's No. 9 catching prospect
* With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy
* Pirates rebuild not met with enthusiasm

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller