At Those Prices, Tolls Should Come with a Clear-Traffic Guarantee

December 25, 2011

I left my Chicago real estate for work last week and was driving on the Eden’s Spur when a saw a disturbing sign that said: Your cost to get to work this way is about to nearly double.

OK, that’s not exactly what it said, but it might as well have.

A judge last week cleared the way for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority to institute a massive hike in fees, and beginning next year, Illinois toll fares will increase between 87.5 and 100 percent.

cash lane on the tollway

There is no such thing as a free road.

Starting January 1, 2012, basic I-PASS users will see their tolls rise from 40 to 75 cents. Motorists paying a toll with cash, now at 80 cents, will have to cough up a whopping $1.50.

At my toll, at Lake Cook Road on the Spur, I-PASS fares will go from 50 to 95 cents and cash payers will now have to fork out $1.90 for this one toll.


More than $1.7 million is tossed into toll buckets in Illinois every single day. The tollway authority says it needs the extra funds to support a new $12.1 billion project that will update tollway roads over the next 15 years.

Representatives from Taxpayers United of America (TUA) went to court to try and stop the rate hike but were shut down by Judge Rita Novak.

“This is a blatant case of capitalist cronyism,” said TUA President Jim Tobin. “Overpaid tollway bureaucrats collect $100,000-plus salaries each year from tollway fees. When they retire, they continue to suck dollars from the floundering State retirement system.

“The government in Springfield needs a thorough housecleaning. Voters should throw all Springfield incumbents from office, and then pay particular attention to the officeholders who play along or encourage this kind of corruption.”

Tobin says he plans to appeal the ruling on February 7. Until then, it looks like I’m going to find another route to work.

To see all the 2012 toll fare increases throughout Illinois, click here.

Categories: Economy

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