Toll increase worth the benefits
As mayor of Bensenville, a town that sits on the western edge of one of the world's busiest airports and at the crossroads of North American commerce, I write in support of the Illinois Tollway's recently announced capital plan. It includes a toll increase, will create thousands of jobs, repair and maintain our roadways and attract investment, including much-needed international investment. These projects will allow our region to maintain its preeminence as the nation's transportation hub.
In these tough economic times, a toll increase may be difficult to accept. But a toll is a user fee, and can be opted out by the driver. It is important to remember that Illinois has not had a toll increase since 1983, even though the cost of repairs has continued to increase.
Also, the O'Hare Western Bypass will be built as a tollway. This project will create 13,000 jobs immediately and more than 65,000 permanent jobs for the region. No other project can offer this level of employment for our region.
The cost of not building and improving our roadways is great. Our region will lose jobs. Investment and new business will go elsewhere; not just out of the region, but out of the state and out of the country. The cost of congestion is enormous, not just in spent fuel, but in loss of productivity and the increase in the cost of goods.
This is also a quality-of-life issue. Relieving traffic congestion improves our air quality. The hours lost to traffic congestion are hours lost with our families; missed soccer and baseball games and moments that can never be recaptured.
In a time when Americans need quality sustainable employment, a toll increase -- a user fee -- seems an equitable price to pay.
Frank J Soto