An estimated 1.4 million drivers use the 286-mile tollway system each day. Officials are counting on getting them to dig deeper to pay for a $12.1 billion expansion and improvement program that starts in 2012.
Tollway leadership says the money is needed to maintain the more than 50-year-old network and pay for expansion. Also, the program will help cut congestion, spur economic development and create jobs, officials say.
For motorists, that will mean an 87.5 percent increase in I-PASS rates. A 40-cent toll will jump to 75 cents, for example. Cash payers will continue to hand over double the I-PASS rates.
First of all, I don’t mind paying to use the Illinois Tollway. If it were free, many more people would end up using it and slowing down my travel times. I do object to an almost 90% increase.
I drive 66 miles a day and go through a total of 2 tolls each way for $1.80 a day currently. That will skyrocket to $3.10, a yearly increase from $415.80 to $716.10 (73% increase!!!)
Unfortunately, I have no choice in using the tollway or not. It is the fastest, most direct and economical route for me to take.
Executive Director Kristi Lafleur, “People can choose to pay or not. Projections are there will be a small group that may decide to take alternate routes, but ultimately (ridership) will come back to where it was.”