The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority last week picked Kristi Lafleur, a close aide of Gov. Pat Quinn, to become its new executive director.

Lafleur, who was deputy chief of staff for economic development and recovery, was among four candidates under consideration for the post. She replaces acting director Michael King.

Lafleur joins the toll agency as it decides how to proceed with future projects, since it is wrapping up its $6.3 billion overhaul. The system serves the Chicago area.

Some of the authority’s contracts have also come under scrutiny for political cronyism and charges that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich sought to enrich his campaign coffers through the promise of future construction work from contractors.

Quinn began revamping the agency’s leadership last year with the appointment of four new board members, including its chairman. 

The authority last entered the market late last year to sell $280 million of Build America Bonds that marked the final borrowing needed for its five-year-old capital program. The tollway this year is planning to restructure some of its outstanding variable-rate bonds.

The agency’s $4 billion of debt is rated AA-minus with a negative outlook by Fitch Ratings. Standard & Poor’s rates it AA-minus with a stable outlook, while Moody’s Investors Service rates it Aa3 with a stable outlook.

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