If you live in central Kane County, you get to cross the Fox River on bridges that don’t charge tolls.
Two have been opened in recent years:
- Red Gate Road Bridge (2012)
- Stearns Road Bridge (2010)
- Prairie Street Bridge (1994)
But no new bridges across the Fox River in northern Kane County since the tollway was built 50-60 years ago.
You would think local and state officials would understand that the explosive growth (tenfold population increase west of the Fox River since the 1980’s, Kane County reports) up our way might justify another bridge, wouldn’t you?
So, to ease the pain at getting across the Fox River in southern Algonquin in northern Kane County over the proposed Longmeadow (Bolz Road) Parkway Bridge residents will have to pay tolls. (Details on the project can be found here.)
No free bridge for us.
We’re apparently second- or third-class citizens.
Elgin’s Daily Courier-News is reporting the Kane County Board is continuing to move toward a toll tax solution (“user fees” for those who aren’t willing to call the new tax by its common name).
And, because of the tolls ($1.50 in rush hours, $1 at other times, the article says), such a new bridge won’t relieve congestion. Read the details of why here.
The toll bridge-road would run from Route 62 over Route s 25 and 31, plus Randall Road to Huntley Road.
But no toll booth. The collection system would use the I-Pass system.
Area residents should have learned a lesson about tolls.
Even if the local officials at the municipal and Kane and McHenry County level haven’t.
Hey. Everyone’s on board.
The village boards of Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Gilberts, Hampshire, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Sleepy Hollow, and West Dundee all have voted for this new tollway.
As far as I can find, motorists have been asked.
“Toll free in 73” was the slogan when the Illinois Tollway was proposed by Governor Bill Stratton.
The Delaware Memorial Bridge between New Jersey and Delaware was supposed to be toll-free after the bonds were paid off.
Anyone think that once tolls are imposed in Algonquin that they will disappear?
It’s not that it is impossible for a local government to build a bridge over a river and later eliminate tolls.
In Winnebago County, the Bauer Parkway Bridge was built in 1994. 50-cent toll. The bonds will be paid off this month.
The local County Board member Kay Mullins says it’s the only county-operated toll bridge in Illinois.
“’My constituents pay taxes like everybody else, so it’s unfair for them to pay additional funds for’ the bridge, said Mullins D-8,” the Rockford Resister-Star reports.
And, miracle of miracles, the County Board has decided to eliminate the tolls in April.
As I have told you before, when a new bridge across the Mississippi in the Metro-East area was being considered, Missouri wanted it to be a toll bridge.
Rod Blagojevich, pandering as usual to those not wanting to pay their own way, held out for a bridge that will be mainly paid for by Chicago-area Motor Fuel Taxes.
Bridges with spans similar to the one that will be needed to cross the Fox River get built across Downstate interstates. No tolls are charged local residents. And the population trends in the two counties featured in this I-57 overpass story are increasing hardly at all in Coles County and no where near the growth rate in Kane and McHenry Counties in Champaign County.
I would hope that northern Kane County Board members might also argue that their constituents pay local taxes the same way the people who use the three central Kane County bridges mentioned above do.
They have significant representation (4 out of 7) on the Kane County Transportation Committee:
- Maggie Auger (R-Algonquin)
- T.R. Smith (R, Burlington, with district including Huntley’s Sun City)
- freshmen Becky Gillam (R, West Dundee)
- Joseph Haimann (D, Carpentersville).
And, let’s not let the state legislators off the hook:
- State Senator-elect Karen McConnaughay
- State Rep. Tim Schmitz
- State Rep. Mike Tryon
- State Senator Michael Noland
- State Rep. Keith Farnham
- State Senator Dan Duffy
- State Rep.-elect Dave McSweeney
And our congressmen:
- Dick Durbin
- Mark Kirk
- Randy Hultgren (R-14th)
- Peter Roskam (R-6th)
- Tammy Duckworth
= = = = =
Perhaps the Democrats gerrymandering of this part of Illinois may actually turn out to be a benefit.