Friday, January 30, 2009

Ask Not for Whom to Credit Tolls

Illinois has a new governor. The former governor has been impeached, removed from office, and barred from seeking public office in Illinois ever again. Now all we have to do is take his name off of everything.

I was listening to former Governor Rod R. Blagojevich reflect on his removal from office as I jetted through the I-Pass lane on I-355, the north-south tollway in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. Emblazoned across the radar station was a blue sign trumpeting the relatively new, boothless, no-delay convenience lanes; Blagojevich's name was prominently featured, complete with his recently stripped title.

Blagojevich didn't build this tollway, although on his watch it was extended further south. He did oversee the conversion from booth to open-road tolling, which has eased commuter traffic significantly. Technically, I suppose, he wasn't taking credit for the easy ride, but he did, I guess, think it important to remind the state as it made its way from points a to points b that it does have a governor and that governor is--or was, I guess--him.

It's perfectly natural for a person to want to leave his or her mark, a legacy that will extend his or her memory and influence. I suspect though that Blagojevich more likely was taking advantage of the interstate traffic that uses the Illinois toll system. I suspect he was seeding the clouds for his eventual presidential campaign, getting his name in the heads of future voters from Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and all other points north, east, south and west.

But for now, until new Governor Pat Quinn can muster up the money out of the state's drained coffers to pay painters to update those signs, I guess we'll continue to think of Rod Blagojevich every time the toll authority magically takes money out of our bank accounts without our even noticing it. In other words, we'll think of our former governor every time our pocket is picked.

4 comments:

Bob/Sir Pent said...

On the news last night they mentioned that the Blago emblazoned toll-road signs cost the state of Illinois $480,000+.

It will cost $15,000 PER SIGN to update every time there is a new governor...

Anonymous said...

In that case, how much would it cost to take the signs down permanently and thus not have to update them each time there's a new governor?

Jeannine

Becky said...

Or how about just removing the toll booths altogether and spending the money we spend maintaining toll booths and writing governor's names on them to maintain the roads instead?

Naw, that's crazy talk.

Bob/Sir Pent said...

I'm surprised he didn't go all out and have big, gold statues of himself erected at every toll-booth.

But I won't kick a man while he's down...