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No Holiday for Cook County Drivers

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 14, 2008 6:50PM

2008_7_potholes.jpgWe almost missed this silliness last week: county highway workers have been ordered to observe a "no-drive" day every other Wednesday to cut fuel costs. Barring an emergency, Cook County Highway Department crews, the same people that fix potholes around the county, stay at the garage twice a month to do other, non-driving odd jobs. Highway Supt. Rupert Graham says the policy is modeled after Illinois Department of Transportation schedule. IDOT keeps most crews off the road once a week to do maintenance work around garages or to attend training. Graham told the Sun-Times that the department is trying to be "smarter than they have in the past in how we use our fuel." County commissioner Forrest Claypool doesn't see it that, way, saying "we've known about [high] fuel prices for a long time, but people still use roads for their daily lives. People still pay taxes to maintain roads," Claypool said. "Salaries for workers who aren't working on the roads is a far larger expense than savings from unused gasoline. It's fuzzy thinking at best."

Todd Stroger ordered an audit of the department's new policy after the Sun-Times's article ran. The results of that audit are expected this week.

Photo by Nick Suydam