Business Leaders for Transportation position statement on the lease of Illinois Tollway - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Business Leaders for Transportation position statement on the lease of Illinois Tollway

Business Leaders for Transportation has concluded it will support a possible lease of the Illinois toll road system if specific conditions are met.

Business Leaders for Transportation has researched the use of private financing for public infrastructure as it relates to transportation improvements inIllinois. We are supportive of the use of Public-Private Partnerships for developing new facilities such as the O’Hare bypass and Elgin/O’Hare expressway. Since our research became public, members of Illinois’ General Assembly also have discussed the use of Public-Private Partnership financing for existing infrastructure assets, through long-term lease or sale.

In August of this year, the Government Forecasting and Accountability Commission hired Credit Suisse to analyze a potential lease of the Illinois toll road system. This report concluded that a lease of the system could generate between $2 billion and $23.8 billion in private equity for the state. The Credit Suisse report noted that future toll increases were the primary driver of the system’s value, along with the lease length.

Business Leaders for Transportation has evaluated the possible lease of the Illinois tollroad system and has concluded that we will support a lease if all the following conditions are met:

  • All net proceeds, after repayment of outstanding debt, received from a lease of the tollroad are reinvested into transportation projects and improvements, including transit and intermodal infrastructure and capital planning, in northeast Illinois.
  • None of the funds received from a lease of the tollroad are used to cover the state’s general operating expenses.
  • The General Assembly works with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and develops clear policies and requirements to protect the public interest that must be met by any lessee before the state requests lease proposals.

To date, no proposal has met these criteria.

 

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