[Editor: This is the text of an October 27, 2016, news release from the Illinois Tollway.]
Illinois Tollway Invites Public to Comment on 2017 Tentative Budget
Three public hearings and webinar available for public to learn more;
Comments welcome via email, U.S. mail or in person
DOWNERS GROVE, IL – The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors today invited the public to review and comment on the agency’s 2017 Tentative Budget by attending public meetings, sending comments or viewing an online presentation.
The 2017 Tentative Budget, currently under review by the Board of Directors, outlines a balanced spending plan for 2017, anticipating $1.38 billion in revenue that will be allocated to fund maintenance and operations, debt service and capital investments on the 292-mile system. The proposal anticipates an investment of nearly $1 billion in capital spending supported by toll revenues and bond proceeds, including the sixth year of the agency’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.
Public comment on the 2017 Tentative Budget will be accepted through November 18. After the Board of Directors has reviewed the public comments and any changes have been incorporated, a final budget will be presented for approval by the Board at its December 15 meeting.
“We encourage the public to take a look at the Tollway’s proposed budget for 2017 and share their comments,” said Illinois Tollway Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom. “The Board of Directors is committed to delivering a balanced spending plan that improves customer service, promotes diversity in the firms doing work for the Tollway and also provides ongoing construction jobs and new workforce training opportunities.”
Public comments may be mailed to 2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515, or submitted via the Tollway’s website, www.illinoistollway.com, through November 18. A copy of the 2017 Tentative Budget is posted on the Tollway’s website along with a 2017 Tentative Budget PowerPoint and video presentation to allow the public to access the agency’s financial information at their convenience. [Links added.]
The Illinois Tollway will also host three public hearings to present the 2017 Tentative Budget and accept public comments. The hearings will be webcast live via the Tollway’s website.
- Monday, November 14, at 6 p.m., at the Elk Grove Village Hall, Room E, 901 Wellington Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007.
- Tuesday, November 15, at 6 p.m. at the Chicago Heights City Hall, 1601 Chicago Road, Chicago Heights, IL 60411.
- Thursday, November 17, at 8:30 a.m., Illinois Tollway headquarters, 2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515.
Public attending the budget hearings may submit comments orally or in writing. Participants attending via webcasts can send their comments electronically to be read by the moderator during the hearings or request the virtual comment be submitted as a written comment.
“We value customer input and welcome their thoughts on how our agency and construction projects are being implemented from the drivers’ point of view,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “The Illinois Tollway is committed to providing safe and efficient travel and spending their toll dollars wisely.”
2017 Tentative Budget
The 2017 Tentative Budget projects $1.38 billion in revenues in 2017, an $80 million increase over the current 2016 estimate, primarily due to continuing increases in toll transactions coupled with a commercial truck toll rate increase previously approved by the Tollway Board in 2008 and the implementation of the new Illinois Route 390 Tollway. Passenger vehicle toll rates will not increase in 2017. Of the $1.38 billion in estimated revenues, $1.37 billion is from tolls and evasion recovery, $6 million is from investment income and $8 million is from concessions and miscellaneous revenue.
In addition, the Illinois Tollway plans to reduce its current headcount while operating a new roadway on the Illinois Tollway system and continuing the largest capital program in the agency’s history. The agency’s headcount will be reduced to 1,553 employees, making it the seventh year that the agency’s staffing levels have included less than 1,600 employees.
The 2017 Tentative Budget allocates more than 75 percent of revenue to support infrastructure, with $639 million for capital investments, $336 million for maintenance and operations and $405 million for debt service – an increase of just $14 million over the 2016 Budget. Operating costs will increase 4.4 percent, mainly due to increases for health care and retirement costs and equipment and fees to accommodate revenue collection. These costs remain consistent with the long-term financial plan outlined for the Move Illinois Program.
The proposed spending plan provides $65.3 million for technology, implementation and maintenance to support I-PASS account management and help to ensure accuracy of toll violations, $14.7 million to support the development and implementation of an enterprise resource planning system and $2.4 million to further the agency’s commitment to fostering access for diverse individuals and companies to work on Tollway contracts.
The capital program proposed for 2017 provides $961.3 million, including $915.1 million in funding for Move Illinois projects. The capital program includes $374.5 million to continue building the new Illinois Route 390 Tollway and planning for the new I-490 Tollway as part of the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, as well as $165.3 million for the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) to implement new SmartRoad technology and complete interchange and local road improvements and $56.5 million to continue planning and design for reconstruction of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294). Also in 2017, $295 million has been budgeted for systemwide roadway, interchange and bridge repairs and other work to keep the existing Tollway system in good repair.
About Move Illinois
The Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, will improve mobility, relieve congestion, reduce pollution, create as many as 120,000 jobs and link economies throughout the region. Move Illinois will address the remaining needs of the existing Tollway system; rebuild and widen the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor; construct a new interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to I-57; build a new, all-electronic Elgin O’Hare Western Access and fund planning studies for other emerging projects.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 292 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.