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Tollway Board Approves Major Hike

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 25, 2011 9:15PM

2011_8_25_tollway_logo.png Motorists, be prepared to pay up t twice as much in tolls. The Illinois Tollway Board approved a toll hike of up to 87.5 percent today to fund an ambitious $12 billion capital infrastructure project that will overhaul and update a majority of the tollway system.

The Tollway Board voted 7-1 in favor of the project, which received an eleventh-hour push from Gov. Pat Quinn.

The plan means tolls for motorists using Illinois Tollway roads will nearly double for most passenger cars, increasing to a range of 30 cents to $1.90 — up from the current 15 cents to $1 most drivers now pay. I-Pass toll rates toll rates will rise from 40 cents to 75 cents.

The toll increases will fund the capital plan called "Move Illinois," a 15-year plan that will rebuild and modernize the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway linking Rockford to O’Hare Airport; a new interchange to connect I-294 to I-57 (one of only two places in the nation where interstates cross but do not connect); and a new all-electronic Elgin O’Hare West Bypass that can provide western access to O'Hare.

Quinn told media yesterday the Tollway Board should vote its conscience. "But the bottom line is sometimes it's necessary if you're going to have less congestion, which is a big issue....I think a lot of families appreciate the fact that they can get from work home faster, get home to work faster. That saves them time and it's worth money," Quinn said.

The increase could cost motorists who use the Tollway system hundreds of dollars a year. Tribune reporter Richard Wronski puts everything into perspective here.