| October 29, 2013


Public hearing, open house and webinar available for public to learn more;

Comments welcome via email, U.S. mail or in person 

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors today invited the public to review and comment on the agency’s 2014 Tentative Budget by attending public meetings, emailing comments or viewing an online presentation. The proposed spending plan currently under review by the Board of Directors covers $295 million for maintenance and operations on the 286-mile system, as well as $1.4 billion in capital projects, including the third year of the agency’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.

“This budget includes the largest commitment for capital spending in the agency’s history, keeps customer service at the forefront of our priorities and limits our growth in baseline operating costs,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “We look forward to hearing what our customers have to say about our 2014 spending plan.”

The proposed 2014 Tentative Budget provides $1.1 billion in funding for Move Illinois projects, including continuing to rebuild and widen the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor; continuing construction of a new interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and I-57; building a new, all-electronic Elgin O’Hare Western Access and funding planning studies for the Illinois Route 53/120 Project. Also in 2014, capital projects will include systemwide roadway and bridge repairs and other work to address the needs of the existing Tollway system.

Revenues are projected to increase $29 million from $986 million budgeted in 2013 to $1.015 billion in 2014. Of the $1.015 billion in estimated revenues, $1.005 billion is from tolls and evasion recovery, $2 million is from investment income and $8 million is from concessions and miscellaneous revenue. The Tollway also plans to issue as much as $900 million in new bonds in 2014 to provide funding for new and future capital investments.

These revenues will allow the Tollway to allocate $295 million for maintenance and operations, an increase of $12 million over the 2013 Budget. Baseline operating costs will increase 4 percent, consistent with the long-term financing plan outlined for the Move Illinois Program. Key drivers for 2014 operating expenses include: increased pension and health care contributions for retired workers, as well as fees associated with the Tollway’s Customer Call Center, development of an enterprise resource planning system and workforce and technical assistance initiatives.

The Tollway has continued to find new management efficiencies in an effort to control or reduce other operating expenses. The 2014 Tentative Budget includes budget efficiencies that will save the Tollway more than $1.5 million, including: $947,000 in reductions to fuel, oil and roadway materials costs; $335,000 in savings on roadway equipment and replacement parts; $181,000 in savings from reduced mailings and $70,000 in reductions to armored truck service costs. These are in addition to the $14 million of recurring savings in the last four annual budgets. In all, the Tollway has implemented more than $63 million in one-time or multi-year savings since 2010. The agency has also continued to maximize new revenues, with $600,000 from the Tollway’s three-year, $1.8 million sponsorship of the agency’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) Program included in the 2014 Tentative Budget.

Further, while there is no increase in the Tollway’s headcount in the 2014 Tentative Budget, the agency will fund an increase in the number of Illinois State Police Troopers assigned to District 15. The 2.6 percent overall increase in wages and salaries will fund these positions, contractually obligated wage increases that range from 2 to 3.5 percent for employees represented by collective bargaining agreements, and annualized wage increases for union and non-union employees that were implemented during 2013.

“As we prepare to begin the third year of the Move Illinois Program – the largest capital program in the Tollway’s history – the Board is committed to hearing Tollway users’ opinions on how their tolls are spent,” said Illinois Tollway Board Chair Paula Wolff. “We look forward to considering their ideas during our review of this spending plan for 2014.”

A copy of the 2014 Tentative Budget is posted on the Tollway’s website at and may be requested by contacting the Illinois Tollway at 630-241-6800. Comments may be mailed to 2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515, or submitted via the Tollway’s website.

In addition, the Tollway is offering the following ways for members of the general public to participate in its budget process:

  • ·       Public Hearing – On Tuesday, November 12, at 6 p.m., the Tollway will hold a public hearing at its headquarters at 2700 Ogden Avenue in Downers Grove. The public is invited to attend in person or view a live webcast hosted on the Tollway’s website at  Public comment will be accepted at the hearing, orally or in writing, as well as via the webcast.  Participants attending via the webcast can send their comments to be read by the moderator during the hearing or request the virtual comment be submitted as a written comment.

Open House – On Tuesday, November 19, from 3-6 p.m., the Tollway will host an open house at the Hinsdale Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294). The open house format will allow the public to view displays and a budget overview and ask questions of representatives from the Illinois Tollway. Public comment will be accepted in writing or can be shared orally for the record with a court reporter.

Webinar – The Tollway is offering a virtual presentation of the 2014 Tentative Budget to allow the public to access the agency’s financial information at their convenience. The webinar is posted on the Tollway’s website and features video with the 2014 Tentative Budget PowerPoint presentation.

After the Board of Directors has reviewed the public comments and any changes have been incorporated, a final budget will be presented for approval by the Board at its December 19 meeting.

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