CHICAGO – July 28, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law to create the Office of Toll Highway Inspector General to oversee operations at the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. This new office will be authorized to investigate ethics violations not covered in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, involving allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement and misconduct.
“Toll payers and the general public have demanded reform and greater transparency from their government,” said Governor Quinn. “The Tollway Inspector General will help improve transparency of Tollway business transactions and operations to ensure that money is being spent appropriately.”
Senate Bill 3118 creates the Office of the Illinois Tollway Inspector General to investigate claims of wrongdoing or mismanagement in the day-to-day operations of the Illinois Tollway. The Inspector General will work to ensure toll dollars are being spent wisely.
The new Illinois Tollway Inspector General will serve a five-year term and will have jurisdiction over the agency's officers, employees, vendors and others doing business with the Tollway. Additionally, the Inspector General will have subpoena power and will submit bi-annual reports to the Governor, General Assembly and Tollway Board of Directors.
“Governor Quinn’s approval of this legislation sends the message that the agency’s new leadership is serious about increasing accountability at the Illinois Tollway, and is listening to lawmakers, local officials, Illinois residents and Tollway customers’ calls for enhanced oversight of agency operations,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur.
At Governor Quinn's direction, the Illinois Tollway has made strides to increase transparency and accountability, promote green and sustainable operations, and contribute to the state's efforts to provide jobs and economic improvements for Northern Illinois.
Sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) and Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), the new law passed the Illinois General Assembly nearly unanimously and takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.
“We are grateful to Senator Garrett, Representative Nekritz and their colleagues for their support in drafting and passing this important legislation,” said Illinois Tollway Board of Directors Chair Paula Wolff.