Judge Dismisses Plea to Stop Toll Hike

$.35 hike set to take effect in new year; taxpayers' group vows to appeal

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011  |  Updated 1:58 PM CDT
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Judge Dismisses Plea to Stop Toll Hike

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A circuit court judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging an impending Illinois Tollway hike.

The Tollway's board voted to approve the hike in August to help pay for a $12.1 billion, 15-year overhaul of the roadway. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, fares will increase from 40 cents to 75 cents for I-PASS users and from 80 cents to $1.50 for cash customers.

That action was followed in September by a lawsuit from the Taxpayers United of America, which said the Tollway violated state law by not doing what it promised years ago: to convert tollways to freeways.

"The tollway's legislative mandate also requires it to convert tollways to freeways and to dissolve itself," the plaintiffs argued, according to the Chicago Tribune. "The language of the Tollway Act is crystal clear. The Legislature never intended the tollway to be a self-perpetuating bond issuing machine that continues ad infinitum."

Jim Tobin, the president of Taxpayers United of America, took aim at Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and said his group was poised to appeal Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak's decision to dismiss the case.

"Lisa [Madigan] apparently got marching orders from [Illinois House Speaker] daddy Michael to oppose tollway users on behalf of politically-connected contractors and highly-paid tollway bureaucrats," Tobin said in a statement on the organization's website.
 

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