Protesters: Proposed toll increase is no 'tea party'

| Monday, January 06, 2003

A small gathering of protesters met Dec. 16 outside the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority's administration building demanding reforms they think would represent toll-paying motorists' interests, The Chicago Tribune reported. The event marked the 229th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

Sarah Klaper, representing the Citizen Advocacy Center, dangled a teabag as she asked the authority to withdraw plans to increase tolls until a management audit is complete and its recommendations are implemented. Klaper insisted the agency fix the original 274-mile road network before laying any extensions.

"Like the tea tax imposed on tea shipments to the first European colonists of this country, tollway motorists are tired of paying tolls without representation of their interests at the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority," she said to eight demonstrators outside the agency's Downers Grove offices.

Klaper implored state lawmakers to pass legislation that would require the agency, which is primarily funded by toll revenues, to submit its annual budget request to the Legislature.

Last month's demonstration came as a proposal to impose the first across-the-board toll increase in 19 years looms.

Facing a financial crisis and a series of major road repairs, the authority has proposed raising the tolls to 75 cents, the newspaper reported. The agency has since put off the plan following a public backlash.

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