The following article in the Chicago Sun-Times features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter September 23, 2011 1:00AM
Updated: September 23, 2011 7:18AM
Taxpayers United of America filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Tollway on Thursday, seeking to roll back the 87.5 percent toll increase approved last month.
The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks an injunction to stop the increase, claiming the tollway system was not intended to have a “perpetual existence” but has instead continued to issue and re-issue bonds for new construction even though previous road work has been paid off.
The $12 billion, 15-year capital improvement plan was approved Aug. 25 by the Illinois Tollway Board, with increases ranging from 35 to 45 cents at most toll plazas for I-Pass users. The average driver will spend $132 more a year on tolls.
“The tollway is a creature of statute that went into effect in July 1953,” said Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America, in a statement. “The slogan of the authority was ‘Toll Free in ’73.’ That was when the toll roads were to be paid off and converted to freeways. Instead, the tollway keeps expanding, building more toll roads and hiking tolls, ensuring that it will live forever.”