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Guv turns down tollway sale again, but it’s a whole lot of cash

Wednesday, Aug 30, 2006

The governor said once again that he doesn’t want to sell or lease the tollway.

“We’re not going to sell the tollway. I’m not interested in that, for several reasons. We’ve done a lot of great things at the tollway to help commuters get to where they want to go faster. One of the problems with privatizing the tollway is the private companies whose motivation is to raise profits. They’re apt to raise tolls, and they may be less interested in maintaining the infrastructure,” said Blagojevich, a Democrat in his first term.

The governor said he doesn’t believe there’s enough support in the Legislature to pass a tollway privatization bill.

But some legislators who were briefed yesterday came away drooling at the possible $24 billion windfall.

Supporters of leasing out the tollway downplayed Tuesday the potential impact of related toll hikes as several suburban leaders appeared increasingly skeptical of the idea.

Yet, the prospect of raking in as much as $24 billion from the lease so intrigued lawmakers of all stripes during a hearing in Glen Ellyn that none would rule out such a sweeping deal.

“This is a unique opportunity,” said Republican DuPage County Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, who listed several caveats to leasing the tollway, before concluding, “I do not believe we should close the door.”

Steve Rauschenberger wasn’t impressed.

“You buy four or six years of political peace with that,” he said.

And some of the tax-eaters have already said what they want if the tollway is ever sold.

Schoenberg got an earful a week ago from AFSCME Illinois Council 31, Business Leaders for Transportation in the Chicago area, the Mid-West Truckers Association, the Transportation for Illinois Coalition, and the Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region. Each offered wish lists for safeguarding wages, benefits, retirement and training of current tollway employees. They also urged caution in deciding how the extra state revenue would be spent.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Disgusted - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 7:46 am:

    So the piranhas at the Capitol building are already sniffing around the funds from tollway sales, if it occurs. These people have no shame. USE THE MONEY TO PAY THE CURRENT BILLIONS OWED IN DEBT, you d–n fools. How did we ever elect such incompetents. They think that state funds are their own little piggy banks. I suspect that their wives (or husbands as it may be) are taking care of their household finances because they don’t seem to get it.

  2. - Scoop - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 8:00 am:

    The Governor had a letter available at yesterday’s hearing in which the entire front was a list of his accomplishments in reforming the tollway, on the back was one paragraph saying he wouldn’t support the lease of the tollway. There were a lot of union folks there…the letter should have been from his campaign.

  3. - So-Called "Austin Mayor" - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 8:03 am:

    Remember when Steve Rauschenberger’s opinion meant something?

    He has made himself just another goofy member of the leg.

  4. - Leroy - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 8:06 am:

    “You buy four or six years of political peace with that,”

    Then the war resumes, each side re-armed with a combined $24 billion dollars in new bureaucractic weaponry.

    And the bureau-patronage complex that $24 billion will build up will require SIGNIFICANT tax dollar feeding afterwards.

  5. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 8:58 am:

    The real issue is that Rod would have to take down the Open Road Campaign posters before nov.

  6. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 9:24 am:

    Since I drive the tollways 4-5 times a year when visiting family in Chicago, I could care less if they lease the tollways out. Double, triple the rates. The impact will come when that $24B gets sucked dry on pork and creates $15B in services that need to be refunded year after year. The pork would be nice and the State would live fat for several years, but the increase in budget requirements would make the current problems seem trivial. Make all the promises of investment and rainyday funds needed. The State (GA and Admin) has repeatedly shown an inability to keep their hands off any available money.

  7. - Patrick McDonough - Wednesday, Aug 30, 06 @ 7:28 pm:

    Maybe we could have some fresh new signs instead of Blogo’s.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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