[Editor: This is the text of an October 19, 2016, news release from the Illinois Tollway Authority.]
ILLINOIS TOLLWAY PRESENTS 2017 TENTATIVE BUDGET TO FINANCE, ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
Includes nearly $1 billion for capital spending to continue investment in largest infrastructure improvement program in agency history
DOWNERS GROVE, IL — The Illinois Tollway today introduced a balanced 2017 Tentative Budget during its Board of Directors’ Finance, Administration and Operations Committee meeting. The spending plan includes $336 million in annual maintenance and operations on the 292-mile system, as well as nearly $1 billion in capital spending, including funding for the sixth year of the agency’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.
“The business of the Illinois Tollway is moving goods and services that support our economy, as well as providing for safe and efficient travel for our customers,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov. “Our 2017 Tentative Budget stays true to this mission by putting more than 75 percent of the revenues we collect into strategic investments in infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology and access for the communities we serve.”
The proposed 2017 Tentative Budget provides $915.1 million in funding for Move Illinois projects, including $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 addition, the 2017 Tentative Budget provides $65.3 million for technology implementation and maintenance to support I-PASS account management and help ensure accuracy of toll violations, $14.7 million to support the development and implementation of an enterprise resource planning system, $2.4 million to further the agency’s commitment to fostering access for diverse individuals and companies to work on Tollway contracts.
Revenues are projected to increase to $1.38 billion in 2017, an $80 million increase over the current 2016 estimate, primarily due to continuing increases in toll transactions coupled with a truck toll rate increase previously approved by the Tollway Board in 2008 and implementation of the new Illinois Route 390 Tollway. 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 2017 Tentative Budget allocates more than 75 percent of revenue to support infrastructure, with $639 million for capital investments 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, however, these costs remain consistent with the long-term financial plan outlined for the Move Illinois Program.
In 2017, 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 operating budget increases include rising personnel costs for health care and retirement contributions, cost of services supporting electronic tolling and credit card company fees associated with toll revenue growth and costs related to the operation of the new Illinois Route 390 Tollway.
“The Tollway is committed to investing in Illinois to serve the needs our 1.6 million daily customers and better the regional transportation network,” said Tollway Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom. “This is a responsible budget that holds the line on spending and reduces employee headcount while maximizing the Tollway’s resources.”
In keeping with the Tollway’s commitment to increasing transparency and accountability to the public, the 2017 Tentative Budget presentation to the Finance, Administration and Operations Committee is posted on the Illinois Tollway’s website for public review. A copy of the complete 2017 Tentative Budget and schedule for public participation in the annual budget process will be posted online after the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors reviews the 2017 Tentative Budget on October 27.
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 across the Midwest 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 286 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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