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posted: 1/7/2014 4:40 AM

Residents 'cool' to idea of toll bridge?

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Residents 'cool' to idea of toll bridge?

When I moved here, I supported the Longmeadow Parkway project. But now, I am wondering if this will be a government boondoggle:

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If you work during the week (250 days/year), that is $750 in tolls added to your family budget, just to cross the river back-and-forth. Add to that any practices or games for your kids, etc. or weekend shifts.

All other toll bridges in Illinois are state-to-state only. The one "local" toll bridge, in Rockford, just had its 50-cent tolls removed because it didn't work. Locals avoided it and it never generated the expected revenue. It never spurred economic development, either. Are we really serious about tolls, given that kind of weak track record?

While it is true that no bridges have been recently built in the upper Kane County area, it is equally true that several non-toll bridges have been built in southern Kane -- Red Gate (2012), Stearns (2010) and Prairie Street (1994). So why do we get different treatment in the North? Political muscle? Relative wealth?

Also keep in mind that the bridge is planned to have video tolling, so you will simply get a bill in the mail sent to your address, based on a picture of your license plate versus Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle records, unless you have an I-PASS. Video tolling, per se, has had very little success or even implementation in the United States -- lots of documented problems with it.

As the Daily Herald pointed out in October, the business community was very "cool" with respect to this project, and the Kane County Board's jobs committee folks were "noticeably surprised" by this reaction. I would argue that others, if asked, are equally cool to the idea of a toll bridge.

Scott DeMuth

Algonquin

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