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updated: 6/21/2012 8:08 PM

Buffalo Grove backs Route 53 extension, tolls

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The Buffalo Grove village board this week endorsed the final report recommending that the Illinois Tollway move forward with the northern extension of Route 53 into Lake County.

Trustees, who unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the report, said the document outlines a project that addresses environmental concerns while also dealing with traffic needs.

The vote comes ahead of a meeting next Thursday, June 28, of the tollway board, which will consider the report in which the Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council supports moving ahead with the proposed extension.

The report recommends the Illinois Route 53 should be a four-lane, limited access, tolled parkway with a 45 mph maximum operating speed that extends from the highway's current end at Lake-Cook Road north to Route 120.

The panel recommends funding the project through the use of tolling, as well as the use of local revenue sources and other options, to be developed in coordination with local governments. That could include adding tolls to the exiting Route 53 between the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) and Lake-Cook Road.

While Buffalo Grove trustees unanimously endorsed the measure, not everyone in village board chambers was behind it.

Buffalo Grove resident, former village clerk candidate and activist Rob Sherman spoke out against the report, calling the proposals "catastrophically bad."

"Nobody's going to pay 20 to 40 cents per mile to drive 45 miles an hour," Sherman said. "So this proposal will not solve the problem. It will merely exacerbate it, because now they also want to put tolls on the Cook County portion of Route 53."

Sherman argued that because most of drivers on the road will be from Lake County, it's unfair for residents and drivers from Northwest Cook County to share in its costs.

"Northwest Cook County is not a colony of Lake County," he said. "It's not the job of the people of Northwest Cook County to pay for the cost of building public works projects in Lake County."

Buffalo Grove Village President Jeffrey Braiman, a member of the blue ribbon panel, said Sherman misconstrues the entire report.

"This is not to be a Lake County highway. This is a regional arterial," he said, adding that the construction of the existing Route 53 was funded in part by Lake County taxpayers.

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