We have the opportunity to sharpen our region's competitive edge by embracing a state-of-the-art transportation project to improve the 22-mile stretch of the 292-mile Tollway system with the highest rate of congestion and travel delays. The Central Tri-State project was originally proposed to simply bring the crumbling roadway, between Balmoral Avenue and 95th Street, into a "state of good repair." Basically, we would be tearing up a major artery linking six interstates, hundreds of thousands of motorists, businesses and Chicago's two international airports, without really fixing the problem. What's needed is added capacity.
Congestion along this corridor creates unreliable travel times and safety concerns for motorists, and limits Illinois' ability to effectively move goods and services throughout the system, hindering economic development and regional competitiveness. I applaud the Illinois Tollway's vision to invest $4 billion to add lanes, relieve flooding, integrate smart road technology and flex lanes, all without a toll increase and without using taxpayer dollars. The Village of Rosemont partnered with the Illinois Tollway to construct both the Balmoral Avenue on-ramp to southbound I-294 as well as the exit ramp from northbound I-294 to Balmoral and it has been instrumental in attracting development in entertainment and retail as well as serving current convention business and will soon assist in providing better access to our two current developments.
The more than 100,000 people who come to Rosemont every day for business and pleasure enjoy more reliable travel times while the State of Illinois and Cook County benefit from the tax revenue that comes from our success. I have full confidence that the Tollway will work with impacted stakeholders to develop a plan that adds value to their neighborhoods while balancing the necessity for a long-term solution that carries tremendous regional benefits.
Bradley Stephens, Mayor