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.

* Janus apparently no longer loves his state job, hires on with Illinois Policy Institute
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker meets with moms who've lost their kids to street violence, police shootings
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign stuff: Morrison; Ives; Skillicorn; Nybo; Rooney; Curran; Breen; Frese
* "And admit that the waters/Around you have grown"
* A tiny bit of good news from Moody's
* Proft files suit so his independent expenditure committee can coordinate with campaigns after caps busted
* Cook shifts governor's race from "Toss Up" to "Lean Democrat" - Third-party candidates "the tipping point"
* Unsolicited advice
* The impasse and the damage done
* Entire IPHCA executive committee resigns, lawyer let go after racism controversy
* Chicago to get its first public law school, but is it a wise move?
* Doom and gloom abounds, but a new pension idea emerges
* Another lawsuit filed in Quincy veterans' home deaths: "For a year and a half, he loved that place. And it killed him"
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...






* SVM EDITORIAL: Term limits: Beware of unintende.....
* McDaniel-Hale: The decision to smoke is a perso.....
* In Bellwood, Fritz Kaegi Blasts 'Machine Po.....
* Barickman Cautious About Trump Impact on IL Ele.....
* Democrats try to rebuild the state party from t.....
* New law better protects DCFS workers..
* Bloomington Business Helps State Retirement Sav.....
* Illinois Makes Its IT Department a Permanent Fi.....
* Dyslexia guidebook bill signed into law..
* Naperville Now 07-20-18..

* The Latest: Meteorologists warned of storms in Branson area
* Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking
* The Latest: Cousin recalls family at birthday party
* Legislation signed requiring protection for state workers
* The Latest: NTSB says boat investigation could a take year
* The Latest: Inspector warned of flaws in Missouri boats
* The Latest: Missouri couple killed in boat accident
* The Latest: Indiana woman: Boat met with ‘big, huge waves’
* Indiana family, Missouri couple among duck boat victims
* The Latest: Coupled opted for duck boat ride at last minute

* Marginal amounts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Moody's gives Illinois finances a 'stable' outlook
* Illinois Army National Guard soldiers return home
* Marginal amouts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Under the Dome Podcast: Gun bills, Quincy, Trump-Putin reaction
* Incumbents hold big fundraising leads in central Illinois legislative races
* Springfield man wins Illinois State Police logo contest
* Rauner 'deeply troubled' by Trump's Helsinki comments
* Rauner signs bill to ease physician assistant hiring
* Bill taking Illinois out of voter registration system vetoed

* Home Run Pizza CEO dies
* Home Run Inn Pizza CEO dies
* Your neighbor isn't a business
* The future of the U.S. looks a lot like Chicago
* Cook County board moves to prevent repeat of pop tax fiasco

* Two men shot while standing on sidewalk in South Austin
* Bears won’t ‘harp’ on WR Kevin White in camp: ‘We just want him to be him’
* Intoxicated man wounded in shooting treated in Wicker Park
* Its early but … Bears rookie CB Kevin Toliver off to a fast start
* Man shot in stomach during Humboldt Park altercation
* White Sox’ Reynaldo Lopez has the stuff, and stuff to work on in second half
* Man, 23, shot in the back in Gage Park
* Bears training camp report: Rookie receiver Anthony Miller stars on Day 2
* Family of Harith Augustus on shooting video: ‘It seems so unnecessary’
* Illinois woman among those killed in Missouri boat accident

* Four-run 7th vaults Cubs to 7-2 win over Cardinals
* Kane County corrections officer charged with sexually assaulting inmate
* Missouri duck boat sinking kills 9 members of family
* Live blog: Pitchfork Music Festival 2018 - day 2
* Fiat Chrysler picks Jeep executive to replace ailing CEO
* Trump finds it 'inconceivable' lawyer would tape a client
* At least 5 wounded in Saturday shootings
* Following teen’s drowning, city takes steps that include posting red flag when lifeguards not on duty
* Anthony Anderson under criminal investigation, disputes woman's claims of assault
* Aaron Lynch sits out, Kevin Toliver shines again in Bears’ first public practice

» The Week in Review: Public Outcry Over Police-Involved Shooting
» ‘Ali: A Life’; Sexual Harassment In Bars; NPR’s Sam Sanders
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: July 20, 2018
» UIC To Acquire John Marshall Law School, Creating The City’s First Public Law School
» State Week: Russia Reactions, Gun Laws, Campaign Cash
» #660 PJ Morton & Opinions on Drake
» July 19, 2018 - Full Show
» Berwyn Homeowners Squeezed By School District Miscalculation
» How Conservatism Won In Wisconsin; Illinois Election Security; Special Olympics 50th Anniversary
» Illinois Prison Officials Accused of Abusing Transgender Inmate

* Scott Reeder: Understanding is what journalism should be about
* Counterpoint: His pick is bad news indeed for health care, women, consumers and unions
* Point: Kavanaugh is truly a 'judge's judge' and precisely what our nation needs
* Eugene Robinson: The 'deep state' stands between us and the abyss
* Marginal amounts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Moody's gives Illinois finances a 'stable' outlook
* Illinois Army National Guard soldiers return home
* Marginal amouts of legionella detected in Stratton Building
* Under the Dome Podcast: Gun bills, Quincy, Trump-Putin reaction
* Bernard Schoenburg: Bourne, Clark clash over missed votes

* Boil order issued in Murphysboro
* Curious messages on O’Fallon house worry neighbors and draw onlookers
* Sherrard woman identified as one of 17 killed in Missouri boat accident
* Street closures listing
* Road closure: Interstate 74
* De Soto chef to appear on CBS show 'The Talk' Monday
* SIU Carbondale faculty reviewing program changes for restructuring
* Southern Illinois legislators sound off on latest gun laws signed by Rauner
* 5 Questions with ... Lara Grobosky, event leader for Macon County's Relay for Life
* What you may have missed: Gun violence data, firearms bill, ospreys, National Guard, America in Bloom and ethanol

* Chatwood, Cubs beat Cardinals 7-2 in doubleheader opener
* Gray wins consecutive starts, Yanks hold on to beat Mets 7-6
* Chatwood gets a victory as Cubs beat Cardinals
* NASCAR stars push for 'new' to improve state of racing
* Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings, Jays beat Orioles 4-1

* Cook County board moves to prevent repeat ...
* Want to be Chicago's next mayor? Make ...
* UIC, John Marshall Law School join forces ...
* How area members of Congress voted on voti...
* July 20th 2018, TIAM Overtime
* Rauner embrace of Trump means more questio...
* GOP Missions in Eastern Europe Were Paid f...
* QUICK TAKE: OCC Likes Passage of HR 5749
* The Districts Are Mostly White. The Candid...

* How area members of Congress voted on voti......
* Family reunifications: 450 down, roughly 1......
* Ballot security battle heats up already ho......
* In IL-6, Roskam and Casten clash over elec......
* GOP accuses Dems of stalling Kavanaugh aft......

* Congress eyes 2026 centennial, tourism pot......
* Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Corte......
* The age of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez...
* Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez B......
* In the Trump era, some find escapism in &#......

* The sad state of the sandwich at Logan Square deli Rosie’s Sidekick
* Saba confronted grief and found joy in his Pitchfork set
* A police killing and a school firing. Some Monday morning questions.
* Chance the rapper.
* An efiling nightmare -- but with a happy ending
* Snoop, the barber.
* Keeping retirement real. Regressive taxation and living in the city.
* A guaranteed basic income in Chicago...
* Prager U: War on boys
* Jeff Bezos Just Became The Richest Person Ever. Amazon Workers Just Marked #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay And Brutal Conditions.

* IDPH Investigation Continues As Foodborne Illnesses Increase
* Gov. Rauner signs HB 5611
* Summit for Success: IDOT providing tools, opportunity for disadvantaged businesses
* Illinois Payrolls Jump +18,100
* Liquor Control Commission Underage Compliance Report for Cook County

* Price drop: Unlocked Google Pixel only $199.99
* All the updates, trailers, and commentary for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
* The first trailer for DC’s Aquaman shows off a war between the surface and the sea
* The first trailer for DC’s Shazam is like Big, but with superheroes
* Facebook is developing an internet satellite after shutting down drone project
* Weekly poll results: battery life and waterproofing make a good wearable
* Watch the first trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters

* Value Survey: Game 95
* Under the Radar: Kyle Kubat
* Mariners Vs White Sox Preview: Starting Pitchers, Odds, Pred...
* LeBlanc, relievers shut down White Sox
* Shields outdueled in stellar night on mound
* Mariners beat White Sox, get back on winning track
* Mariners 3, White Sox 1: New half, same loss

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
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