May 2nd, 2011

Should tollways trade historic names for sponsors?

Daily Herald

If everybody has a price, Illinoisans may soon find out just how much the names Jane Addams and Ronald Reagan are worth in their home state.

Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, has proposed legislation asking the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority to look into the possibility of selling the naming rights of tollways to corporate sponsors.
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Tollway officials aren’t big fans of the idea, so the Tostitos Tollway probably is not imminent and Reagan fans might not have to cede the honor of naming rights to a soft-drink company anytime soon.

But, Ford says, as drivers suffer through the rising cost of driving, it’s probably worth studying whether the revenue from selling naming rights could somehow supplement and lower taxes on gasoline.

“When you have traffic reports, they will say Mobil Tollway or whoever has the naming rights,” Ford said. “And then that company is getting advertisement all the time.”

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