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Rauner Pushing Privatized Toll Lanes On I-55

Interstate 55
Marc Buehler
flickr.com/marc_buehler (CC BY-NC 2.0)
The scenery on Interstate 55 often consists of the back of the car in front of you.

Gov. Bruce Rauner was in the Chicago Suburbs Monday pushing to add toll lanes to Interstate 55. He also took the opportunity to attack Illinois Democrats.

Rauner's idea is to let a private company add surge pricing lanes to the Stevenson Expressway. If you’re willing to sit in traffic, it’ll remain free. But if you want to zip past, you can pay to ride in the special lane.

Rauner has been pushing the idea for just over a year.

“I think it’s a time to ask the speaker: Why are we holding this up? What is the delay?” Rauner asked.

The question wasn’t necessary. House Speaker Michael Madigan issued a statement before Rauner’s event saying the Illinois Department of Transportation failed to provide "any evidence demonstrating that this project will save taxpayer dollars or result in better maintained roads."

When a reporter read that to Rauner, he laughed and made an oblique reference to “baloney."

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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