Illinois Tollway names Elizabeth Gorman new executive director

 
 
Updated 2/22/2018 5:15 PM
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  • Elizabeth Gorman

    Elizabeth Gorman

Elizabeth "Liz" Gorman, a former Cook County commissioner, was chosen Thursday as the Illinois Tollway's new executive director.

She succeeds Greg Bedalov, who left the tollway last week after three years on the job. Bedalov is moving to the Illinois Sports Facility Authority, which handles construction of stadiums for professional sports teams.

Gorman, of Orland Park, will start March 1. She previously served more than 13 years as Cook County commissioner and recently was director of state and local government at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Tollway Chairman Robert Schillerstrom said the agency had not conducted a national search for a director, "but we did do a search, we considered others, and it was clear to us that she was head and shoulders above the other candidates and the right person for the job."

Director and Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said he'd known Gorman when he was her constituent.

"I have firsthand knowledge of her expertise and willingness to get involved," Johnson said. "She has experience in both the public and private sector and I've seen her ability to get things done."

Gorman said she wanted to keep running the agency "in an efficient and effective manner. We'll build on the things that are working, and if any changes need to be done we'll address it at that time."

She said the planned expansion of the Central Tri-State Tollway was a "wonderful project" that would reduce gridlock, and the extension of Route 390 to O'Hare and a ring road around the airport "would keep us competitive in the global marketplace."

One controversial project under study is the proposed extension of Route 53 north.

"We'll be meeting with the community to give the best plan possible," Gorman said, "and work in a collaborative fashion. I have been known and have the reputation for cutting through red tape and working both sides of the aisle and bringing people together. I'll bring that same collaborative spirit here."

Gorman's salary is still being negotiated; Bedalov received about $180,000 annually.

Bedalov started at the tollway in 2015 along with other newcomers in the wake of Gov. Bruce Rauner's election.

During his tenure, Bedalov oversaw the start of a massive $4 billion Central Tri-State Tollway rebuild; the expansion of Route 390, formerly the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway; and the launch of a $25 million study on extending Route 53.

But the agency experienced turbulence over those issues, with a lawsuit emerging over the Route 53 plan and pushback from residents in Hinsdale and Oak Brook, among other communities, over widening the Tri-State.

The tollway is also embroiled in complicated negotiations with Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific railroads over land and right-of-ways the agency needs to build a ring road on the western side of O'Hare International Airport.

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