Illinois toll hike on indefinite hold

| 4/30/2002

Gov. George Ryan has put the brakes on the Toll Authority's plan to raise the basic toll to 75 cents from 40 cents to pay for a $5.5 billion reconstruction program. The governor said the authority needs to look at other ways to deal with a shortfall of funds to pay for a reconstruction program.

Public hearings on the hike were held last week in each of the 12 counties served by the authority and more public hearings are being planned, officials said.

The Chicago Tribune reported officials said the board would hold off on making a decision on toll increases until staffers report back on several issues raised at public hearings. Issues to be discussed include whether toll increases should be phased in, and if truckers should face an even greater toll increase than proposed.

At a news conference last Thursday at Tollway headquarters, gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich said any decision to increase tolls should be postponed until after a new governor takes office and appoints a new tollway board.

Reportedly, authority executives at the conference were evasive about other suggestions, such as congestion pricing - charging higher tolls during rush hour to relieve back-ups at toll plazas - and a cost and savings of the I-PASS electronic toll collection system.