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July 15, 2004

Proceeds From Auction Will Fund Additional Congestion Relief Efforts

Downers Grove, Ill. – The Illinois Tollway’s helicopter sold for $952,000 at a public auction held today at Tollway headquarters. The sale of the helicopter has been long requested by state officials and is part of the reform agenda launched by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
“I’m pleased that the proceeds from the helicopter sale will now be put to work to provide congestion relief for Tollway customers,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “The Tollway reform agenda aims to ensure that toll money is being properly and efficiently spent, and selling this asset is another step in the right direction,” he said.
 1993 Bell Long Ranger IV helicopter was purchased by Steve Lieber, owner of Helicopters Inc. of Cahokia, IL. Lieber says he plans to add the aircraft to his company’s fleet of 22 similar Bell Long Ranger helicopters based at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia in southern Illinois. Helicopters Inc. leases helicopters and other aircraft to major media networks and TV stations around the country.  Lieber says the Bell Long Ranger IV is the company’s “ship of choice” among the 62 helicopters in his fleet, and used models rarely go up for sale.
“This public auction demonstrates that the Tollway, like any well-run business, is looking for ways to free up funds to better serve our customers,” said Executive Director Jack Hartman. “There is no better way to enhance the customer experience on the Tollway than by reducing travel times, and money from the helicopter sale will help us achieve that end,” said Hartman.
There were four helicopter bidders at the auction, which was conducted by Starman Bros. aviation auctioneers at the helicopter hangar adjacent to Tollway headquarters. The $952,000 purchase price exceeds the appraised value of $937,000. Related equipment and parts, appraised at $22,000, were also sold but the total amount generated is not yet available.

About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority maintains and operates 274 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the North-South Tollway (I-355), the Northwest Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94, I-294, I-80/I-294). The Illinois Tollway offers customers I-PASS electronic toll collection for congestion relief and ease of travel. Customers can buy an I-PASS at Jewel-Osco or online at www.getipass.com, where existing I-PASS customers now can also manage their accounts online.


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