Tollway fees to grow in 2012

By Megan Healy

Beginning Jan. 1, 2012 all passenger vehicles will be paying a higher rate on Illinois tollways. On Aug. 25, a decision was made by the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors to increase tolls in a $12 billion capital plan extending 15 years. The Board voted 7-1 for the plan, according to

“The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in northern Illinois,” according to

According to Illinois State Representative Robert Pritchard, there will be a total of 60 percent increase to the tolls. Effective Jan. 1, 2012 there will be a 40 percent increase, followed by a 10 percent increase each year in 2013 and 2014.

“The 15-year, $12 billion capital plan calls for widening, expanding and rebuilding 286 miles of highway. Projects include: the Jane Addams Tollway, a new Elgin O’Hare west bypass, a new interchange to connect I-294 and I-57 and overall system wide improvement. Goals also include congestion relief and improved safety,” said Pritchard.

Wendy Abrams Chief of Communications for the Illinois Tollways said that tolls will go up 35 cents on average for I-Pass users. Cash paying vehicles will still pay double of what I-Pass holders pay. As most tolls have different rates the 35 cent average is based on all increases averaged out.

“I would not be interested in paying an increased toll. I come out (to NIU) twice a week, I take 88. I feel that 88 isn’t all that congested and doesn’t get that heavy of traffic flow,” said junior journalism major Dashanda Mosley.

Abrams said, “Based on our studies, history shows that people will not use tollways for short periods of time, then come back to them because they are the quickest and convenient routes,” Abrams said. “Initial system transactions are projected to go down 2.6 percent for 2012 (the first year of toll increase), but if history has shown us anything it is that those numbers will rebound.”