First we get a 67% income tax hike, compliments of Democratic Party Governor Pat Quinn.
Now, his minions on the Tollway Board are proposing an 88% (I round up) hike in tolls.
No one has had the audacity to make such a proposal since George Ryan’s appointees controlled the Tollway Board.
It was 2002 when Ryan’s folks proposed a 90% toll tax hike.
It got shot down and Ryan went on to propose getting rid of tolls.
In my 2002 press release below this article you can read how I suggested applying pressure through GOP gubernatorial Jim Ryan since DuPage County Republicans benefited most from the Tollway patronage.
The strategy worked.
Ryan even proposed turning the Tollways into freeways. That would have fulfilled the promise made during the 1950’s before my family moved to Crystal Lake and the Northwest Tollway was being constructed:
“Toll Free in ’73“
Next up with a toll tax hike was Governor Rod Blagojevich. His plan was crafty.
Increase the tolls on those who paid cash, basically, people driving through Illinois, while exempting regular drivers…if they used I-PASS. That was his plan.
Of course, pretty much anyone with a brain ponied up $40 from a credit card to get an I-PASS transponder in order to avoid the toll tax hike.
You will note, of course, my use of the word “tax” in conjunction with the word toll.
Worse from the point of view of those living in the Chicago metropolitan area and the other minor parts of tollway system served by the Illinois Toll Highway Authority (out to Rockford on I-90 and Sterling on I-88) is the MASSIVE diversion of taxes from the Chicago metropolitan area to Downstate Illinois to build freeways.
There are two reason;
- Each year the Federal government sends X dollars (don’t know what the figure is now) for every mile of Interstate Highway. All the tollways are Interstate Highways, of course. This money is put in the big pot to build and re-build non-Tollways. I makes no sense that this cash should not be given to the Tollway.
- Every time anyone drives on the Tollway, fuel is utilized upon which Illinois Motor Fuel Tax has been paid. No money is transferred annually from the state road funds to the Tollway.
It’s not that none of the diverted gets spend in the six-county area.
But no one will argue that it is 100%. Under Blagojevich, I believe total highway spending in what I continue to think of as the Chicago Metropolitan Area dipped below 39% of IDOT’s total.
I argued nine years ago that the cash flow from Federal highway aid attributable to the Tollways and the MFT generated by Tollway travel should be used to pay off what I remember as about $10 million in bonds.
My plan would have make the Tollways toll free, requiring the Illinois Department of Transportation to take over maintenance, as it does every other four-lane (or more) Interstate in the state.
So, with Governor Quinn not having the guts to ask for a gas tax hike to build roads, he has decided to raise tolls 88%.
And continue the diversion of Chicago-area money Downstate.
My best example of misplace priorities in the IDOT budget goes back to the road only those from the Chicago area driving to Western Illinois University know.
It’s Route 67.
Governor George Ryan allocated Illinois FIRST bond money to widen it from two to four lanes.
At the time it was widened, it had less traffic each day than goes past our home on Lake Avenue in Lakewood. I don’t remember the exact count on Route 67, but the count on Lake Avenue was 6,500 vehicles per day the last count I heard of.
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Here’s the press release I sent out in April of 2002, when I was the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor, running against Rod Blagojevich and Jim Ryan:
Skinner Tells How to Kill Republican 90% Toll Tax Hikes
Last night Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Cal Skinner of Crystal Lake told how to stop the 90% Republican toll tax hike at the Lake County Libertarian Club meeting at the Lake Zurich Public Library.
“In any political fight,” Skinner explained, “One must first find the right pressure point. Since the 90% toll tax hike is being proposed to perpetuate political patronage in DuPage County for the Republican Party, I had to find a Republican on whom to focus the heat.
“First, I thought of Senate President Pate Phillip because he is the Legislative Leader who controls the Tollway”, Skinner continued. “Then I remembered that Pate is famous for standing up to pressure.”
“I reviewed Jim Ryan’s position and all his spokesman has said is that ‘the tollway board needs to make a strong case to justify a toll increase.’ If that’s an indication of Jim Ryan’s style of leadership, he will be quite a passive governor,” Skinner observed.
“Still, Jim Ryan is the key to killing the 90% toll tax hike because he wants to be the biggest elephant in DuPage County,” Skinner said.
“Here’s what people need to do if they want to kill the 90% Republican toll tax hike,” Skinner said. “Call Jim Ryan’s political office in DuPage County. Call (630) 469-1078.
“Tell Jim Ryan you oppose the 90% toll tax hike. Tell him you won’t vote for any Republican if he lets his DuPage County Republican cronies raise your toll tax 90%.
“It’s that simple,” Skinner said. “How do I know this strategy will work?
The answer is that it worked in 1975 when the first Mayor Daley was trying to find two suburban Regional Transportation Authority board members to vote for the Chicago Transit Authority for RTA chairman. One Republican sold out almost immediately.
I heard that a lawyer was going to be the second ‘sell-out’. In those days, WBBM had editorials and people were allowed to record rebuttals. WBBM endorsed CTA Chairman Milton Pikarsky. I cut a rebuttal urging people to call the lawyer’s office. At 9:30 on the morning the editorial rebuttal began running, WBBM called me in Springfield and told me that they had to take the number off the air because his office couldn’t get any work done. The lawyer did not end up voting for Pikarsky”.
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So the question this press release should bring, is “Where is the pressure point to stopping a massive Toll Tax Hike this year?”