Illinois Tollway glitch could give trucks cheaper rate

| 7/18/2005

The problematic Illinois Tollway has received a taste of its own medicine.

According to a new audit by the Illinois Auditor General, a flaw in the way the Tollway processes its pre-approved toll system – I-Pass – has the potential for charging tractor-trailers the same rate as four-wheelers.

Wow. What a shame.

According to the report, the Tollway – which recently expanded many of its I-Pass express lanes – didn’t install equipment on all of them that could count the number of axles on a vehicle. Because of this, all of the vehicle’s information was based on the I-Pass transponder inside the truck.

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a problem – unless, of course, the truck was carrying a passenger vehicle-designated transponder.

“A violation is only recorded in the lanes affected if there is no transponder to read or if a transponder read was identified as insufficient, invalid, lost or stolen,” said Auditor Jack Hartman in the report. “A violation would not be recorded if a vehicle passed through the lane with a transponder that does not correlate to the class of the vehicle.”

Without being able to differentiate between a Mack and a Mazda, unethical or unknowing truckers could simply purchase the wrong kind of transponder and slip through at a lower rate – 40 cents, compare to anywhere from $1 to $3.

Tollway officials did not announce how much lost revenue the glitch has caused, but did tell the Rockford Register Star that it should be eliminated by 2006.

By Aaron Ladage, staff writer