I wrote earlier about how the Kennedy and Dan Ryan are perfect opportunities to introduce congestion pricing — with separate express lane infrastructure, parallel transit, and I-Pass already in place.
Yet right now we’re moving the other way. A Crosstown truck route would only funnel away through-traveling trucks that should be on I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) anyways, and if it were a tollway (as Madigan suggests, to raise the tens of billions necessary) it wouldn’t do anything to keep the freeloaders off 90-94. Meanwhile, Chicago wants to use $117 million in PFC charges [ticket taxes] to widen I-190 to O’Hare — charging everyone, including connecting passengers and those of us who take the [achingly slow, 15-mph, in need of $54 million to replace faulty, disintegrating ties] train, to speed drivers off the Northwest Tollway. Huh?
If freeloading trucks are a problem, then stop the freeloading: toll 90-94. If I-190 needs $100,000,000 to unsnarl traffic, then make the drivers along that route pay: simply move the toll barriers half a mile and add I-190 to the tollway network. Airport-goers are a remarkably price-insensitive bunch, anyhow.
update 26 Feb: one week after revealing the I-190 plans, Jon Hilkevitch writes that fixing up the Blue Line (now up to 22% in slow zones) will cost… $100 million, which, of course, CTA doesn’t have in the absence of an Illinois FIRST successor. It took 70 minutes to get from O’Hare to Monroe this morning, a full 55% longer than the “scheduled 45 minutes” that Mr. Friendly Announcer used to promise to passengers boarding at O’Hare and which signs inside the terminal walkways still proclaim.
Also, Dennis Byrne writes of the Crosstown in a Trib op: “As if Daley doesn’t have enough concrete to pour to keep him and his contracting buddies content for the rest of his lifetime reign. Maybe the city should buy up a bunch of vacant lots that he can pave over just to keep him and his pals happy. It certainly would be a better use of the money.”
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