Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Open Letter to Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Governor Blagojevich,

I noted in today's State of the State address some mention of other highway projects, including the expansion of I-55 from Weber Road to IL 126. That's great news for the folks in this area who travel I-55, myself included.

I am already on record stating that you had plenty of good things for Illinois legislators to work on in the coming year. One way, I believe, to help make your Capital Construction Program further work in the second-fastest growing county in the U.S. would be to sign an order that would stop the "Prairie Parkway" and re-purpose the $209 million earmarked by Mr. Hastert for "study" of the plan.

Mr. Governor, we don't need to waste another $209 million to "study" the parkway site for another three years. Seventy-percent of area motorists believe the answer to the clogged highways in Kane and Kendall Counties is to improve existing roadways. We've already told IDOT that in their own survey -- and in greater numbers in town hall meetings all over the area.

IDOT has not been listening. And now there's money talking.

Those who have a financial stake in the plan have already renamed their vision "The Burnham Parkway," and are revamping their website to "inform" the public of a plan that's been railroaded through by Republicans for seven years.

That's wrong, and it's another misplaced priority, largely supported by Mr. Hastert and his monied friends who have had their eye on commercial development in the outer corridor for decades.

It's wrong when we have Kendall County fast becoming a large block of bedroom communities with little manufacturing, and little effort by local authorities to change that. Local governments are beginning to acquiesce to a highway they don't need or want, simply because they see it as a "done deal."

But I refuse to give up. The citizens in this area would overwhelmingly support a plan to expand IL Rt. 47 from I-88 in the north to I-80 in the south, the most direct route between the two interstate highways. To further interleave with your plan for jobs and infrastructure and seal local support, make the properties adjacent to this corridor a manufacturing and technology tract, with incentives available for new employers.

Illinois Route 47 has been ignored by IDOT for years (of Republican leadership in the state). Mr. Hastert is known by many to have said that Route 47 expansion would mean the elimination of quaint towns like Elburn and Yorkville (his hometown). In fact, Elburn is not involved, and as far as Yorkville is concerned there are now plans underway to improve IL 47 through the city, which the city fathers now support.

Mr. Governor, set aside the Prairie Parkway plan now under study by IDOT.

We don't need a new highway that swallows up thousands of acres of prime farmland and valuable space in two of the fastest-growing counties in the country. Kane and Kendall would be far better off with new manufacturing sites and the improvement of important, existing roadways. We might just save a billion dollars, too.

And we would all be far better off "studying" new transportation methods and using federal transportation dollars to link the newest "neighborhoods" of the city of Chicago with CTA and Metra.

Thanks for your valuable time.


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