CHICAGO (CBS) — Starting Sunday, it’s going to be a lot more expensive to drive on Illinois’ tollways.
Effective New Year’s Day, tolls are going up an average of 87 percent.
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The current 40-cent toll for I-Pass users will go up to 75 cents. Drivers who pay cash will see their 80 cent toll go up to $1.50. Other toll plazas will cost even more. For example, the Waukegan Toll Plaza on I-94 will cost $1.40 (I-Pass) and $2.80 (cash).
That means, for example, I-Pass users will pay $4.60 to drive the entire span of Interstate 294/94, cash only drivers will fork over $9.20.
Tollway officials say more revenue is needed to pay for a $12 billion roadway improvement program, starting next year.
Kristi Lafleur, Illinois Tollway executive director, says even with the pay hike, the pay-your-way system is affordable. She says the vast majority of tollway users haven’t seen a rate hike in nearly 30 years.
And, Lafleur says, this year alone $600 million will be spent to improve the system. That includes $137 million on the Tri-State, $90 million on the Reagan and just under $100 million on I-90.
But those changes will take a while to see, while the pain in the pocketbook will be felt immediately. It’s why dozens of people were waiting in line at Tollway Headquarters Friday, hoping to cut costs with an I-Pass.
Travis Perry was one of those waiting in line. He said he came out in order to beat the “mad rush” that he expected would happen when the rates go up.