Letters: Congestion pricing a boon
November 26, 2012 10:08PM
Updated: December 28, 2012 6:07AM
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is urging Gov. Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway Authority to commit to congestion pricing as a tool to manage traffic for faster, reliable travel times, as recommended in the “GO TO 2040” comprehensive plan adopted by the seven counties of Northeastern Illinois.
With congestion pricing, toll rates in express lanes rise at times when more drivers want to use the highway and fall when demand is low. Supply and demand will help manage highway resources more effectively. CMAP has created www.cmap.illinois.gov/congestion-pricing, with information about the benefits to our region’s residents.
Five GO TO 2040 expressway projects lend themselves to this approach: the tollway’s new lane on the Jane Addams Expressway (Interstate 90); two new expressways (the Elgin-O’Hare West bypass and the Route 53 north extension/Route 120 bypass); and IDOT’s planned additional lane on the Eisenhower and Stevenson expressways. CMAP’s analysis shows that express-lane drivers during the morning rush, for example, on I-55 traveling from I-355 would reach downtown 25 minutes faster for $2.75.
In the past 20 years, 10 states have successfully implemented congestion pricing, and public support has increased as drivers become familiar with it. While express-lane revenue could help pay for some of a roadway’s costs, the primary goal of congestion pricing is to manage traffic more effectively.
With construction approaching for two new expressways and new lanes on existing ones, now is the time for our state and region to make a strong commitment to congestion pricing. It’s a crucial step to shorten travel times and maximize the benefit of these planned improvements.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Joliet needs jobs
This is regarding the recent editorial on a detention center in Joliet (“Detention center makes sense for Joliet,” Nov. 18). I agree. Unemployment in the Joliet area is still over 8 percent. We need jobs whether they be low paying, temporary or whatever.
It is disgraceful that the federal government has yet to establish a coherent and unambiguous policy with respect to illegal immigrants, but Joliet’s refusal to accept a deportation center would not affect this situation.
Indeed, if Joliet accepts a deportation center, it would give us the voice to demand changes in government policy where appropriate. We cannot leave deportees to the mercy of any internment system.
Personally, I favor amnesty to all immigrants presently living in the U.S., except for those with criminal records.