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Tollway Seeks To Lower Violation Fees, Win Back Fans

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Tollway

The Illinois Tollway. (Credit: CBS)

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DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (CBS) — An effort reportedly is underway to make life easier for motorists who occasionally use Illinois toll roads.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports, the Chicago Tribune says the Illinois Toll Highway Authority has begun looking at ways to eliminate high penalties for missed tolls.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports

Currently, a driver who misses a toll will get slapped with a $20 fee per violation in addition to the original unpaid toll charges. Another fee of $50 per violation is added that fee is not paid within eight weeks.

But Tollway executive director Kristi LaFleur the tollway is considering just sending drivers a friendly notice after their first violation, in which they would only have to pay the missed toll and a small administrative fee, the Tribune reported.

LaFleur told the newspaper that the Tollway realizes people sometimes make innocent mistakes, and shouldn’t be automatically slapped with fines as lawbreakers.

The Tribune reports the authority has also upgraded its online toll calculator, at IllinoisVirtualTollway.com, so that drivers can plan their trips better, the newspaper reported.

Using the tollway got a lot more expensive this year.

As of Jan.1 of this year, the 40-cent basic rate toll for I-Pass users – unchanged since 1983 – went up to 75 cents. Drivers who paid cash saw their 80 cent toll go up to $1.50.

Other toll plazas now cost even more. For example, the Waukegan Toll Plaza on I-94 now costs $1.40 (I-Pass) and $2.80 (cash).

An interest group, Taxpayers United of America, filed a lawsuit last year seeking to block the increases by challenging the Toll Highway Authority’s right to charge tolls at all. The group said when the tollways were created in 1953, they were supposed to be turned into freeways within 20 years once the original bonds to fund construction were paid off.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit in December.

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