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CHICAGO (CBS) – Community activists held a news conference outside the Chicago Skyway Sunday, calling for an end to privatization.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Michele Fiore reports, Raul Montes Jr. is leading the grass roots effort to pressure City Hall to renegotiate the deal on the Chicago Skyway, which allows its landlords to raise tolls as high as they want.
“This infamous deal has caused a political firestorm, and is an outrage to many, including Chicago and Indiana residents that cross it on a daily basis,” Montes said.
Currently, tolls on the Skyway are above $3, and Montes expects that to go much higher.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Michele Fiore reports
The 99-year lease for $1.83 billion was signed in 2005, under Mayor Richard M. Daley. Since then, the city has also allowed for the privatization of some parking lots, parking meters, garbage pickup, and a group to monitor traffic cameras.
The Skyway was the first toll road privatization on an existing road in the United States. Later, the Indiana Toll Road was privatized in a ease to the same consortium that is involved with the Skyway – Spanish-Australian firm Cintra-Macquarie.
But now, Montes is calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to renegotiate the deal.
Montes is also calling on drivers to boycott the Skyway.
“We also ask that people not use the Skyway, to send a message to many companies that want to be predators and take our city’s public assets without there being any type of transparency,” he said.