Report: Tollway head Lafleur a finalist for Florida job

  • Kristi Lafleur

    Kristi Lafleur

 
 

Illinois tollway leaders are not commenting on whether the agency's CEO is a finalist for a job in Florida.

The agency is in flux with a new governor in place and five out of nine board directors with terms that expired May 1. Gov. Bruce Rauner has authority to appoint directors.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Illinois tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur is one of two finalists for chief of the Central Florida Expressway Authority.

The Illinois tollway is in the midst of a massive $12 billion, 15-year building program.

Lafleur is a former top administrator for previous Gov. Pat Quinn, who appointed the current board.

The Sentinel reported Thursday that the Central Florida Expressway Authority board could make a hiring decision May 14.

The expressway authority is responsible for 109 miles of roads in four counties in the Orlando area.

The Illinois tollway manages 286 miles of toll roads in 12 counties.

Lafleur was hired in 2010 after serving as Quinn's deputy chief of staff for economic development and transportation initiatives.

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Rauner hasn't indicated what his plans are for the tollway board or its administrators although it's expected he will put his own stamp on the agency.

Directors whose terms ended May 1 are Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez, banker Mark Peterson of Lincolnshire, DuPage County Forest Preserve Commissioner Jeffrey Redick and Shorewood businessman Terrence D'Arcy. The new governor's wishes were felt at the tollway April 23, when board directors reversed a 21-year-old agreement that required contractors to hire union workers.

Rescinding the agreement reflected the wishes of Rauner, who is trying to reduce organized labor's influence in the state. The tollway's massive building program, Move Illinois, was strongly supported by labor unions when it was instituted in 2011. Paid for with a toll increase, projects include extending the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (Route 390) east to O'Hare International Airport and widening the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90).

If leadership changes at the tollway, it could delay decisions that were expected this year on the fate of another extension -- Route 53 into Lake County.

The project faces a budget shortfall but it's been inching forward with funding for planning coming from the tollway.

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