CHICAGO (CBS) — You might say that the New Year starts in earnest Tuesday, as just about everyone gets back to work.
And as WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, the coming of the New Year is bringing with it new demands on your wallet in the form of increased fees. They affect everything from Metra tickets to the mail, and from alcohol to water.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports
Metra ticket prices are going up an average of 25 percent, effective Feb. 1. If you take the train downtown from Matwteson or Mokena’s Hickory Creek lot, for instance, expect to pay $35.50 more for a monthly pass, or $426 more per year. One-way rides in those zones are going up to $5.75 from $5.
All tolls nearly doubled as of Sunday to help pay for a construction and capital improvement plan approved by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. The tollway said the average trip will cost 55 cents more for those with an I-PASS. Round trip, with four five-day work weeks per month, that adds up to $22 per month more than the same trip last month. Tolls that were 40 cents with an I-PASS now are 75 cents, 50-cent tolls are 95 cents, and $1 tolls are $1.90. Thus, a round trip between Tinley Park and O’Hare Airport via I-294 has jumped to $4.50 from $2.40 — and that’s for I-PASS users. Double those amounts if you don’t have an I-PASS.
Chicago city sticker fees will increase between $10 and $15, with annual inflationary increases in the future. The fine for not displaying a Chicago city sticker has gone from $120 to $200 in 2012, or $500 if you own a really big truck. At $60, late fees are $20 more, too.
Drivers who park in the downtown public garages on weekdays will pay a new $2 “congestion premium” — figure another $40 per month.
Parking meter rates in Chicago have risen between 25 and 75 cents per hour, depending on where you park, as part of the built-in increases that were implemented when the city’s meters were leased to a private company in late 2008. Let the meter expire and you’ll be slapped with a $50 fine, $10 more if you parked in the Central Business District.
If you take your frustration out on the meters, you’ll be paying a lot more too. Anyone who tampers with or damages a parking meter pay box will pay a fine that’s been upped to $750 from $500.
† Fines doubled from $500 to $1,000 for driving with a revoked or suspended license in Chicago, and from $1,000 to $2,000 if the car is impounded.
End up at a courthouse in Cook County, and you will pay a new $4.75 daily fee at those parking lots, unless you’re on jury duty or serving as a witness.
A Cook County resident buying a new car will pay a quarter of a percent more, as the county use tax increased from .75 percent to 1 percent. On a $20,000 vehicle, that’s an extra $50.
Beginning in March, Cook County will levy a new use tax on nonretail transfers of vehicles, varying from $175 to $225, depending on the age of the vehicle. It’s $25 even if you give the vehicle as a gift.
In July, the wheel tax imposed on vehicle owners in unincorporated Cook County will have new fee amounts, including $50 for a motorcycle and $100 for a larger passenger vehicle weighing 4,500 pounds for more. Trucks and buses will be even more, depending on their weight.
If your water comes from Lake Michigan, you’ll be tapped for more cash whether you live in Chicago or the suburbs. The first of four consecutive years of water and sewer rate increases by the city of Chicago began Sunday, and many suburbs are passing the cost on to users. It’s a 25 percent increase this year, and 15 percent in each of the following three years. For Chicagoans, that’s 50 cents more for every 1,000 gallons used, or about a $120 annual increase for the average household’s combined water/sewer bill.
Effective Monday, Cook County has added a few cents more in taxes on a six-pack of beer, and 20 percent to 50 percent more for a bottle of wine or liquor. Depending on the percentage of alcohol by volume, the new tax on liquor will be 24 cents to $2.50 per gallon. Make that 50 cents just for the county for a fifth of whiskey, for example.
Effective March 1, Cook County also will extend its tobacco tax to include cigars (5 cents for a little one, 25 cents for a large cigar) and smokeless tobacco — 30 cents per ounce.
An overnight stay in a Chicago hotel will cost nearly $2 more (depending on the room rate), as the hotel tax was upped 1 percent to 4.5 percent.
The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.