The following article by ABC 7 features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
September 22, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — An anti-tax group is suing to try to stop a big increase in tolls on Illinois tollways.
The tolls would pay for a 15-year construction project.
The group Taxpayers United of America filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cook County. Their goal is to roll back the 35-cent increase in the basic I-Pass rate that was passed by the toll board.
The group says the Tollway Authority violated state law by failing to convert tollways to freeways after all these years.
Tollway officials say they haven’t seen the complaint but are confident they followed the rate increase process as required under state law.
(Copyright ©2011 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
The following article in the Chicago Tribune features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
September 22, 2011|By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
The group Taxpayers United of America filed a lawsuit today challenging the 87.5 percent toll increase approved last month by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks to roll back the 35-cent increase in the basic I-PASS rate that the tollway board approved to pay for a 15-year, $12.1 billion construction program.
The suit alleges the tollway authority violated state law by failing to convert tollways to freeways and by failing to plan for its own dissolution, which the taxpayers group contends is required by law.
“The tollway is a creature of statute that went into effect in July 1953,” Taxpayers United President Jim Tobin said in a statement. “I recall that the slogan of the authority was ‘Free in ’73.’ That was when the toll roads were to be paid off and converted to freeways.
“Instead, the tollway keeps expanding, building more toll roads, and hiking tolls, ensuring that it will live forever. This is contrary to the legislative intent of its creators.”
Tobin said his group intends to ask the court to enjoin any attempt to impose the higher tolls until the tollway authority complies with the law.
The suit asks for a class action on behalf of tollway users, Tobin said.
A spokeswoman for the tollway said today the agency hasn’t seen the complaint, so it would be premature to comment.
“But we are confident that we followed the process as required under state laws,” Wendy Abrams said.
The following article in the Daily Herald features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
Article updated: 9/22/2011 5:00 PM
By Marni Pyke
The Illinois tollway shouldn’t even exist let alone have a spike in rates Jan. 1, a lawsuit filed by a taxpayers’ watchdog group claims.
Taxpayers United of America sued the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority Thursday, seeking to halt increases of 35 cents to 45 cents at most toll plazas in 2012.
Stopping the toll hike through litigation “is the only way to do it right now outside a revolution,” Taxpayers United President Jim Tobin said. “I think our chances (in court) are fair to good.”
Tollway officials said it would be premature to comment in detail given they hadn’t had a chance to review the lawsuit. But a spokeswoman stated the agency was confident it had followed the process as required under Illinois law.
Taxpayers United attorneys filed suit in Cook County court and are seeking class-action status.
The lawsuit asks the court to undo the toll increase, stating that the agency has violated state law by failing to convert the tollways into freeways after construction loans were paid off and to plan for its own demise.
“They were supposed to get rid of the authority in 1973 — the slogan was ‘toll free in ’73,’” Tobin said.
Authority leaders contend the increase is necessary for a $12 billion construction program to maintain and repair existing tollways. In addition, the agency intends to widen the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90), extend the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway east and build an interchange at I-57 and the Tri-State Tollway.