The tollway board just received the recommendations from their blue ribbon committee urging the extension of Route 53. If you agree with me that the extension and linkage to the Tri-State Tollway is a critical link to the region's road system, I urge you to contact tollway board members to urge them to expeditiously implement the recommendation. Our northern region should not be second fiddle to areas to the south that already have seen the I-355 extension become a reality. To have a major highway abruptly come to an end at Lake-Cook Road defies logic, and the extension is a major missing piece of the system.
The committee said the Route 53 extension can mean jobs and economic development and much-needed traffic congestion relief for the region. The committee brought together people of diverse interests to reach consensus on an approach that is respectful of environmental concerns. The proposed four-lane system with greenway can be a model for the nation. Yes, it needs to be paid for. In addition to tolls, which need be kept as reasonable as possible, and support from tolls from other parts of the system, prompt implementation will close the funding gap since further delay can only add to cost.
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The committee's report also said the tollway may wish to consider innovative concepts such as possible required economic contributions from developments at interchanges that will benefit from the extended road or even the possibility of intergovernmental agreements or legislation to authorize something comparable to special service districts for commercial or industrial or office developments at the interchanges.
The time to act on this issue is now. The people of our region deserve no less. Please join me in urging the tollway board to pledge their prompt support.