Illinois Tollway Chief Discusses Leadership Turnover And Her Goals

Daily Herald profiles Cassaundra Rouse, who rose to become the Illinois Tollway Authority’s executive director in August. “It’s been a tumultuous year . . . . with four top [authority] leaders flying out the doors,” but Rouse insists she’s not planning a similar departure. “My priorities revolve around ensuring we continue to deliver exemplary service and critical infrastructure improvements to our customers,” Rouse tells the newspaper. She emphasizes the importance of making toll payment “easy and convenient” for customers and upholding the authority’s reputation for “delivery of projects with economic impact.” Rouse notes that the tollway will spend $1.5 billion in 2023 to advance its Move Illinois capital program. Daily Herald notes that Rouse, a Chicago native, “is the first Black female tollway executive director, which is significant for a field heavily dominated by men. Women’s roles in transportation have evolved from where ‘we weren’t in the room,’ Rouse said. ‘Then we moved to being in the room but not necessarily having a voice. Now we not only have a voice, but we’ve moved to the table.’”