Toll cheats cut some slack in Illinois

| 8/12/2005

Good news for motorists who avoid paying tolls in Illinois: State officials are putting off new suspensions of driver’s licenses and license plates until Gov. Rod Blagojevich puts pen to paper on a one-time amnesty program intended to give Illinois Tollway scofflaws a chance to pay up.

“Drivers who cheat their fellow Tollway users have learned an expensive lesson that violating the law is no longer tolerated,” Blagojevich said in a written statement. “The Tollway amnesty program is a last chance for violators to settle delinquent violations and clean their slate.”

In the past five years, the state has suspended more than 31,000 license plates and 3,200 driver’s licenses belonging to motorists who failed to pay Illinois tollbooths, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Each week, 2,000 license plates are marked for suspension.

With the governor expected to sign a 60-day amnesty program soon, the suspensions stopped late last month, the newspaper reported.

The amnesty plan – SB1964 – would give motorists who passed through toll booths without anteing up to be allowed two months to pay a percentage of missed tolls and fines, which can jump from $20 to $70 per violation.

Motorists with up to 25 violations would be allowed to pay 50 percent of the original tolls and fines; those with 26 to 50 violations would pay 60 percent; and anyone with more than 50 violations would be allowed to pay 75 percent of what they owe, the Sun-Times reported.

Folks who fail to come clean during the amnesty period would be subject to the full fines and could have their vehicles towed, booted or impounded. They also could be referred to a collection agency.