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posted: 9/25/2012 4:40 AM

Rail transit not for tollway to undertake

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On these pages, about two months ago, a letter questioned the legitimacy of the Tollway Authority's efforts and expenditures of funds to further its role in the incorporation of mass transit into the tollway system.

This must have struck a nerve as, since then, two things occurred. First, the executive director responded to the original letter defending the tollway and its need to understand the issues related to the inclusion of mass transit, particularly rail-based, into the tollway system. I am sure other government agencies have responded to letters in a similar vein, but it is rare enough to be noteworthy.

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Recently, the second event occurred, passage of a bill in the legislature, introduced by one of the many do-nothings there legitimatizing the role of the authority to extend its reach into rail systems, an area that has been excluded from its mission since its inception. I have seen no evidence of a debate, no committee hearings, nothing to indicate that anyone in our state government questioned this unprecedented expansion of the Tollway Authority's role.

If this legislation on its face doesn't make you sick, consider the fact that any specific plans to move into this new arena require only the approval of the governor to move forward. This is the same person who is a member of the board of the Tollway Authority. The fox is already in the henhouse.

The expenditures so far have been to become aware of the issues involved with inclusion of rail rapid transit in the highway system. Illinois pioneered this concept 60 years ago. but the Tollway apparently feels that they must ignore the body of knowledge already in existence. Let them stick to building road and raising tolls. They already have a lot of talent for both.

Raymond Bellock

Sleepy Hollow

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