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Fixing Illinois Through Transportation

By Prescott Carlson in News on Sep 12, 2010 4:00PM

Photo by tripp...

So how is Illinois going to get out of its $13 billion budget mess? One civic group says the solution lies in the state's transportation system.

In a new report by Chicago Metropolis 2020, a "business-backed civic organization" that promotes "healthy regional growth," the group says that investing in transportation and changing transportation policies are the key to grow the Illinois economy and make the state prosperous again. The 78 page report (PDF) goes into great detail and makes many recommendations on improving the efficiency of the state's transportation system, including:

  • Doubling of the state gasoline tax
  • Expand the tollway system throughout the state and utilize variable pricing
  • Remove townships from the "transportation business" and turn roads over to the counties
  • Make transit a state priority, including expansion and increased investment in both Chicago transit and "on demand" transit in rural Illinois
  • Lower the costs of private transportation
  • Provide more oversight to local governments to achieve transportation goals

Chicago Metropolis 2020 wants to make this happen through adding a bit of bureaucracy in the form of a new Illinois Transportation Advisory Commission, which would determine transportation policy and goals, and oversee transportation investment and tie it into the Illinois economy.

The report is ambitious and makes some very valid points, hopefully whomever winds up in the governor's mansion come November will bother to read it. We don't have our hopes up.