It is apparent to anyone traveling around Chicago and suburbs during our expanded "rush hour" that the area is woefully underserved by its current transportation infrastructure. Slow travel times on the Tri-State Tollway are only a symptom of this, not the root of the problem. The entire area needs a comprehensive transit plan with teeth and funding, which might take into consideration everything from alternative and mass transit options to subsidies for off-peak travel or employees living closer to their employers.
Unfortunately, to the Tollway Authority's hammer, everything looks like a nail. The organization is about to spend eight years and $4 billion of your toll money to expand the Tri-State to California-sized proportions. Meanwhile, numerous studies have shown that adding more capacity simply induces more demand, to the extent that within five years of completion, any new lanes are likely to be nearly as crowded as the existing ones are now. That sounds like a waste of $4 billion to me -- money that could be better spent to solve the region's transportation woes.
It is time to recognize the monster that the Tollway Authority has become, and merge it into something larger and more comprehensive, whose mission is better transportation, not just more roads.