Illinois Tollway Board Approves 2017 Budget

[Editor: This is the text of a December 15, 2016, news release from the Illinois Tollway.]

Balanced budget includes nearly $1 billion to continue Move Illinois capital program

DOWNERS GROVE, IL — The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors today approved a balanced 2017 Budget, anticipating $1.38 billion in revenues allocated to fund maintenance and operations, debt service transfers and capital investments for the 292-mile system. The budget includes an investment of nearly $1 billion in capital spending supported by toll revenues and bond proceeds, and funds the sixth year of the agency’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.

“This budget represents our best efforts to deliver strategic investments in infrastructure improvements, state-of-the art technology and the diverse communities we serve,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “The Board’s action today reinforces our commitment to working within a balanced budget, providing strong fiscal management as we support a larger system with the addition of the new Illinois Route 390 Tollway and completion of the widening of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90).”

The 2017 Budget reinvests more than 75 percent of revenue collected back into roads, bridges and infrastructure to support and enhance customer service, with $639 million for capital investments, $405 million for debt service and $336 million for maintenance and operations – 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.

The Illinois Tollway plans to reduce its current headcount to 1,553 employees while operating a new roadway on the Illinois Tollway system and continuing the largest capital program in the agency’s history.

The spending plan reinforces the focus of the Board of Directors on diversity issues and initiatives, including fostering access to sustainable jobs for African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans and women. Nearly $4 million is allocated to the Department of Diversity and Strategic Development for work that includes establishing a workforce development program, as well as expanding technical assistance for certified disadvantaged, minority- and women-owned business enterprise (D/M/WBE) firms and small and veteran-owned businesses to do business with the Illinois Tollway.

The 2017 Budget also 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.

“This budget sets our spending at a responsible level that will keep our system operating smoothly and enable us to invest in programs and services to create jobs and support diversity,” said Tollway Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom. “We are committed to delivering first-class service and roadways to our customers by making the best use of the revenues we collect.”

The 2017 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.

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.

In keeping with the Tollway’s commitment to increasing transparency and accountability to the public, the 2017 Budget is posted on the Illinois Tollway website for public review. The Tollway offered a number of opportunities over the past two months for public participation in the annual budget process, including public hearings in Chicago Heights, Elk Grove Village and at the Tollway’s Downers Grove headquarters, which was also accessible live online with opportunity for the public to submit questions electronically during the hearing.

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.

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Dan Rozek
630-241-6800 x.2392