Toll cheats get more time to pay up in Illinois

| 8/29/2005

Tollbooth scofflaws with a guilty conscious in Illinois got some good news this week. They have 60 days to pay up at discounted rates under a one-time amnesty program signed into law by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The toll road reform law gives motorists who avoided paying tolls in Illinois until Oct. 21 to pay a percentage of missed tolls and fines, which jump from $20 to $70 per violation when ignored.

Motorists with up to 25 violations will be allowed to pay 50 percent of the original tolls and fines; those with 26 to 50 violations will pay 60 percent; and anyone with more than 50 violations will be allowed to pay 75 percent of what they owe, the Chicago 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. Their accounts could be referred to a collection agency.

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 newspaper reported.

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

In anticipation of the governor’s signature on the amnesty program, the suspensions stopped late last month. They will start up again when the program ends.

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