By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association (IRTBA), an ARTBA chapter, and a broad coalition of other transportation advocacy organizations have filed suit against Cook County for violating the Safe Roads Amendment to the Illinois Constitution.

The lawsuit contends that, notwithstanding the plain terms of the Safe Roads Amendment, Cook County is diverting approximately $250 million in revenue collected from transportation-related taxes and fees to a fund that does not finance transportation infrastructure improvement or other transportation-related expenditures, as authorized by the state constitutional amendment.

“Requests to Cook County for information about these tax revenues have been denied, and attempts to discuss a possible resolution have gone nowhere,” IRTBA and the other groups said in a March 8 statement. “The coalition of transportation advocacy organizations are committed both to the enforcement of the Safe Roads Amendment and to transparency concerning Cook County’s use of tax dollars.”

Nearly 79 percent of Cook County voters supported the Safe Roads Amendment in a 2016 statewide referendum. See page 32 of the July/August 2016 issue of ARTBA’s Transportation Builder magazine for additional background about the state’s lock box campaign.