What is the Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Western Bypass proposal?
- The project would extend the current Elgin-O’Hare Expressway east of I-290 to O’Hare International Airport and create a new toll road connecting the western side of O’Hare with I-90 to the north, I-294 to the south, and I-290 to the west.
- The project has been in the long-range plans of the Chicago Area Transportation Study, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, DuPage County , Chicago Metropolis 2020, O’Hare Modernization Plan, and other planning bodies.
Why do we need an Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Western Bypass?
- Transportation infrastructure west of O’Hare is a key part of modernizing the airport to handle expanded capacity and reduce delays.
- Once the O’Hare modernization program begins in earnest, even more businesses that depend upon access and proximity to the airport will locate west of the airport.
- The development of a western transportation link to O’Hare will create the backbone for significant economic growth that will occur in and around O’Hare, and can have tremendous benefits for DuPage and Cook counties, and all of metropolitan Chicago , and the state of Illinois .
How much money would the public partner make from an Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Western Bypass Partnership?
- Roughly $905 million up-front, plus the added savings of not having to pay to maintain the road during its lease period.
How did Business Leaders for Transportation determine the $1.60 toll price?
- It is actually $.80 for the majority of people since, by 2011, when the road would be ready to open, the vast majority of people will be using I-PASS.
- The $1.60 cash toll rate and $.80 I-PASS toll rate are not set in stone. But they are fair projections for 2011 given the other rates in the region.
What is the incentive for the public to pay $1.60 to use the new road if there is still going to be a free alternative?
- It will most likely cost $.80 for I-PASS users, who will be the majority of road users. By 2011, that will be a pretty good deal.
- For most people, it is just common sense to take the most direct route, save time, and avoid traffic jams.
Does a toll road largely paid for by DuPage County residents seem fair?
- A Public-Private Partnership for the Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Bypass project gives DuPage County residents the choice to pay a small fee for a more convenient and faster route on a road that probably would not otherwise be built or continue to navigate their way on existing free roads. The O’Hare Bypass portion of the project will likely draw users from around the region as well as from outside the region.
- When a toll is low or nonexistent, more drivers will use the road, leading to increased traffic congestion. Adjusting the toll rate up attracts fewer drivers, which keeps the road flowing freely, and benefits the people who choose to pay for saving time.
Could the Toll Authority build the Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Western Bypass?
- The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority has expressed interest in building the Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Bypass, and has estimated that it could generate $139 million to pay for it. However, $139 million is still far short of the estimated $1.345 billion full cost of construction.
What would the toll rate be if the state built the Elgin-O’Hare Extension/O’Hare Western Bypass by itself?
- The state will probably never be able to afford to build this project any other way.
Will a new road contribute to more traffic congestion?
- Business Leaders for Transportation does not take a position on whether the Western Bypass is the only way to modernize the transportation structure around O’Hare. There may well be additional improvements that could add to access and traffic relief.
- Business Leaders chose the Bypass as a test case because it has already been approved in the regional planning process, and has been in the long-range plans of the Chicago Area Transportation Study, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, DuPage County , Chicago Metropolis 2020, O’Hare Modernization Plan, and other planning bodies.
Read "Making the Case for Public-Private Partnerships in Illinois."
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