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Abolishing tollway authority only solution
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 8/22/2009 12:01 AM

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In "Our View" Aug. 16, the Daily Herald, in the wake of another scandal at the Tollway Authority, called for reform at the tollway. In calling for reform the Herald wrote, "But the authority also has a long legacy of scandal and excess." Yes, the Herald is correct, a very long legacy of scandal and excess, and the chances of any meaningful reform are almost zero.

For years the authority has been a big boondoggle and a patronage haven that should have been dissolved years ago. Way ahead of the curve in pointing out the problems of the Tollway Authority has been No Tolls Inc., a local organization that for years has campaigned for an end of the Tollway Authority.

The Tollway budget for 2009 is $680 million with $258 million for maintenance and operations, $210 million for debt service and $212 million allocated to the Renewal/Replacement and Improvement Accounts. The authority has 1,783 employees and a maintains a fleet of autos and trucks. There is no reason that the 286 miles in the tollway system could not be absorbed by Department of Transportation.

Retire the debt, transfer some of the road maintenance equipment and personnel to IDOT, give the rest of Tollway Authority personnel preference for future state job openings, if qualified, and finally end the waste, corruption and sweetheart deals that has been part of the Tollway Authority for decades.

This is Illinois, so reform at the authority is next to impossible. Abolishing the Tollway Authority is the only answer.

Victor Darst

West Dundee