Illinois Considers Leasing Tollway

June 1, 2006

Legislators are exploring whether Illinois should lease the state-owned Tollway system.

Lawmakers are already jockeying to bring the money to their communities, even before they know how much cash might be at stake. Republican state Senator Kirk Dillard wants to be sure suburban communities near the Tollway benefit from a lease.

"I have an open mind on the leasing of the Tollway. But as a suburbanite, if the Chicago Democrat machine controls everything, it's not going to be fair or good for suburbia," he said.

State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat who heads the committee exploring the lease, took issue with Dillard's claim.

"I'm from the suburbs too, and I think the suburbs should be in line for more than their fair share on where the money's going to be spent," he argued.

Officials have varying ideas on what to do with revenue generated by a lease, including paying off debt and investing in transportation projects.