An Illinois Republican state senator argues against privatization of Illinois toll roads, at least if the privatization is done without serious study and if the proceeds will be used for the benefit of the State generally rather than the areas served by the toll roads specifically.
Illinois has a toll road privatization effort similar to that under way in Indiana, but the parties rolls are different with the Democrats in control favoring privatization and the Republicans in opposition.
Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) writes that suburban businesses have the largest stake – and the most to lose- in a proposal to lease the Illinois State Toll Highway authority because the region’s toll highway system is the economic lifeline and the way employees and products move about. Tolls shot up, he says, when the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road were leased, making it more expensive to get to work or move goods.
Any leasing idea, he contends, should be explored in a thorough process that includes world-class economists, transportation experts and leaders from the areas affected by the toll road leases. Tollway proceeds should be used only for transportation infrastructure in the areas served by the toll roads, not for general purposes or in other parts of the state.
Along with these main points, Sen. Dillard includes plenty of invective against Illinois Democrats, but, aside from that, his position seems remarkably similar to that of Indiana Democrats, particularly those in the northern part of the state.