Putting the Breaks on Toll Increases

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A Winnebago County Leader could have a say on whether tolls in Illinois are increased. Thursday Gov. George Ryan appointed Rockford resident Carl Towns to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.

Towns will be involved in the discussion surrounding toll rate increases, but this week the debate has focused on not if, but when a toll hike could take effect.

If Rockford and Western Illinois are going to become a regional hub of economic activity, the long lines of traffic at the Cherry Valley tollbooths need to disappear. That's the opinion of the newest member of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. When the toll authority meets next week, longtime businessman Carl Towns will have a seat at the table.

Vice Chairman of the State Transportation Committee Senator Dave Syverson nominated towns to the post. He hopes they can work together to make a difference for stateline travelers.

Syverson would like to see the tollway expanded to six lanes.

One of Towns first objectives will be make sure that the toll at Cherry Valley is redesigned sooner than later.

Towns is now one of nine members of the state highway toll authority. His term expires in four years.

One reason Syverson nominated towns was that Winnebago County has had no representation on the toll authority for the last eight years.