Controversy erupts on Illinois Tollway over Blagojevich signs

| 8/7/2006

If you're traveling on the Illinois Tollway, you might notice some large, blue signs that say, “Open Road Tolling. Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor.”

At first glance, you might think these are campaign signs – after all, the governor is running for re-election this year. And the signs have no useful information on how to sign up for the state's I-Pass electronic toll-collection system.

But it turns out, according to The Chicago Tribune , that the 32 signs were put up with state money – nearly $500,000 in total – as part of what the Tollway calls its “branding strategy.”

Despite complaints, Tollway chairman – and Blagojevich appointee – John Mitola told the Tribune he's “sick and tired” of hearing about the signs, and is proud to have the governor's name on them.

The Tribune reported that one member of the Tollway commission said that the expenditure was never brought before the Toll Commission.