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Downers Grove Patch | Group Files Suit Challenging Toll Hike

The following article by Downers Grove Patch features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
By Robert Bykowski | September 23, 2011A lawsuit was filed in court Thursday is aiming to challenge forthcoming tollway fee increases.
The lawsuit was filed by the group Taxpayers United of America in Cook County Circuit Court, the Chicago Tribune reports, and alleges the Illinois Tollway violated state law by not converting tollways to freeways and by failing to plan for its own dissolution, which the group claims is required by law.
The suit is seeking a class action on behalf of tollway users, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.
The tollway approved a 15-year, $12 billion capital plan on August 25. Starting on January 1, most I-PASS users will pay a 35-cent increase at the tolls to fund the project, while cash-paying users will see a 70-cent increase. For more information, please read Patch’s previous coverage on the toll hike.

WLS 890AM | Taxpayer group sues Illinois Tollway over toll increase

The following article on WLS 890AM features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
Posted 9/22/11 5:21 p.m.
CHICAGO (WLS) – Taxpayers United of America has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Tollway, seeking to roll back the 87.5 percent toll increase approved last month.
The suit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks an injunction to stop the increase, claiming the Tollway was intended to have a “perpetual existence” and has instead continued to issue and re-issue bonds for new construction without making roads whose bonds have been paid off into freeways.
The $12 billion, 15-year capital improvement plan was approved by the Illinois Tollway Board on Aug. 25, with increases ranging from 35 to 45 cents at most toll plazas for I-Pass users. The average driver will spend an average $132 more a year on tolls.
The suit alleges the Tollway acted beyond it’s authority by adopting the plan with no priority given to complying with its “limited statutory existence” and without any indication of which tollways have been paid for and should be converted to freeways.
“The tollway is a creature of statute that went into effect in July 1953,” Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America, said in a statement. “The slogan of the authority was ‘Toll 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.
The Illinois Tollway on Thursday said the agency had not yet seen the complaint and could not comment. “But we are confident that we followed the process as required under state laws,” spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said.
The two-count suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all Tollway users. It seeks damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and additional relief.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
© Content Copyright 2011 WLS Radio 890AM and WLSAM.com.

WGN 9 | Taxpayer group sues to stop toll fare hikes

The following article by WGN 9 features TUA’s lawsuit against the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.

By Richard Wronski Tribune reporter
4:07 p.m. CDT, September 22, 2011
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.
rwronski@tribune.com

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Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.

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