The Illinois Tollway on Oct. 19 presented the 2012 tentative budget to the Board of Directors’ Finance Administration Operations Committee, providing $607 million for capital projects, including $241 million for the first year of the agency’s new 15-year capital program Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.
“This balanced budget provides the resources needed to launch the Move Illinois Program while holding the line on operating costs across the board,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “The 2012 budget will allow us to continue to provide a high level of service and break ground on new projects that will enhance regional mobility and, ultimately, save our customers time and money.”
The 2012 tentative budget includes funding for Move Illinois projects including construction of the new interchange at the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and I-57, construction of a new interchange at Illinois Route 47 on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and bridge and shoulder widening to prepare for the I-90 rebuilding and widening work scheduled to begin in 2013.
Also in 2012, capital projects will include roadway rehabilitation on the central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) from 95th Street to Balmoral Avenue, resurfacing on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) between Illinois Route 56 and Illinois Route 251 and completion of the Tri-Level Bridge project improving ramps connecting I-294 and I-90.
In addition, the 2012 tentative budget provides $9.6 million for information technology system enhancements and $8.8 million for I-PASS transponder purchases and automatic coin collection machine repairs.
Other spending includes $7.9 million for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) improvements to monitor and detect traffic incidents and $1.6 million for the Illinois State Police District 15 to enhance public safety.
Revenues are projected to increase $293 million, from $680 million in 2011 to $973 million in 2012, primarily due to a toll rate increase for passenger vehicles approved by the Board last August and scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012. Of the $973 million in estimated revenues, $963 million is from tolls and evasion recovery, $1 million is from investment income and $9 million is from concessions and miscellaneous revenue.
These revenues will allow the Tollway to allocate $266 million for maintenance and operations, including increases of $5.3 million for credit card fees to accommodate increased revenue collection and $4.4 million for mandatory social security and employee retirement costs.
The Tollway has made extensive efforts to reduce maintenance and operating costs in 2011. The 2012 Tentative Budget reduces utility expenditures by about $1 million due to efforts to reduce energy consumption and enhance energy efficiency and reduces insurance costs by more than $1 million. Further, the Tollway is maintaining its current head count of 1,598 employees, while preparing to take on the largest capital program in the agency’s history.
“This is a responsible budget that demonstrates how the Tollway is dedicated to maximizing operating efficiencies and minimizing costs,” said Illinois Tollway Board Chair Paula Wolff. “The Board is committed to increasing transparency and accountability and being open and honest about how our customers’ tolls are spent. We look forward to hearing their thoughts on this budget plan.”
A copy of the 2012 tentative budget is posted on the Tollway’s Web site at www.illinoistollway.com 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 Web site.
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, Nov. 15, 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 participate in a live Web cast hosted on the Tollway’s website at www.illinoistollway.com. 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 Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. the Tollway will host an open house at the Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294/I-80) in South Holland. 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 will offer a virtual presentation of the 2012 tentative budget to allow the public to access the agency’s financial information at their convenience. The Webinar will be posted on the Tollway’s website and features video with the 2012 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 of Directors at its Dec. 15 board meeting.