Gov. Quinn appoints innovative leader to Tollway board - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Gov. Quinn appoints innovative leader to Tollway board

Gov. Quinn made another stellar appointment to the Tollway Board this week, naming Maria Saldana as a member of the board. We at MPC applaud Maria’s appointment -- and not just because we’ve been proud to have her co-chair our Regional Planning and Investments Committee for the past two years, or because she has a great grasp of innovative transportation solutions such as congestion pricing, public private partnerships and other transportation demand management solutions. No, we applaud this appointment because it signals the Governor is serious about making real investments in our transportation system, not simply throwing more money at the problem.

Maria's appointment, along with recently appointed Tollway Board Chair Paula Wolff, demonstrates a new vein of leadership for the Tollway, an agency which shows lots of promise. Make no mistake, Open Road Tolling was in play long before Gov. Blagojevich branded it his own with $15,000/piece billboards. Planners at the Tollway were hatching that idea for years. They’re also mulling over some other very cool innovations including running express busses on shoulders, congestion pricing, and becoming a real partner in the region’s transportation planning with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and Regional Transportation Authority. Imagine that for a minute -- real collaboration between the region’s transit providers, tollway operator, and planners. Sounds like just the kind of idea Maria Saldana and Paula Wolff can get behind.


  1. 1. Emily from Chicago on December 9, 2009

    This is an excellent appointment indeed! Because our transportation needs far outweigh what we have, we've got to support smarter spending and better allocation of limited resources. It's good to know the Governor is filling up our transportation boards with people that get it.

  2. 2. Jim Buckner from Near South Loop - Chicago on December 16, 2009

    Atty Saldana is an excellent appointee with a splendid record on everything in which she has been involved. I applaud the Governor for this appointment and look forward to good things happening at the Tollway Board.

  3. 3. Gerald L. Murphy from Westchester and Cook County on April 22, 2010

    Long range plans to widen the Eisenhower Expressway between Mannheim and Austin were apparently overlooked when an I-290 resurfacing project was recently begun. The need to widen I-290 was mostly caused by suburban sprawl and the mid-seventies extension of I-290 to connect with Route 53, serving Woodfield Mall and NW suburbs. In these circumstances, a widening could be financed by the extension of the East West Tollway to Austin. The saving of 30-40 minutes a day can justify paying these future tolls by motorists. Car pooling promotions and express bus service would also help. Congestion can be further reduced by building mid-rise parking facilities and access ramps to and from I-294/I290. Commuters can now board Metra trains at the nearby Berkeley stop but parking and access from the expressways are too limited. Those who now commute to and from CTA stations in the Loop can already transfer to and from Metra at the adjoining Oak Park stations and travel on Metra to and from the far West suburbs. Promotion of Metra-CTA fare packages can relieve some congestion independent of whether the suggested physical improvements are made. Questions and feedback would be welcome.

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