12/16/2005More Tickets for Illinois Toll Roads
Pricey tickets and denial of the use of Illinois toll roads could be the result of proposed rule changes.
Illinois State Toll Highway Authority officials approved a sweeping plan in October enabling the agency to levy new charges against motorists using the state's 274-mile network of toll roads. Residents have until January 22 to request a public hearing on the provisions. Forty-five days after that, the decision will stand unless a legislative panel votes to reject the plan.
Toll road officials are looking to pocket $75 every time a motorist drops change near a toll basket and then attempts to retrieve his own money from the ground. Those using I-Pass electronic transponders will find a host of new tickets and fines as well. If an account drops below zero or a driver forgets the device, the tollway will impose a $25 "administrative fee." Those who receive a traffic ticket or improperly use their I-Pass would be cut off from service.
Currently, between 50 and 60 percent of motorists use I-Pass, but transportation officials nationwide have been moving toward eliminating the cash payment option entirely. In Dallas, Texas, for example, the Highway 121 toll road is being designed as an electronic payment only toll road. Combined with closings of alternate, free routes -- as has happened by contract in Colorado and Sydney, Australia -- denying a motorist the use of an electronic transporter could soon be equivalent of denying the use of formerly public roads entirely.
Speed cameras will also be in operation soon on the toll roads issuing $375 tickets on the first offense and $1000 tickets on the second, along with demerit points against the driver's license and a 90-day license suspension.