Illinois Tollway to spend more on technology, thanks to truck-only toll increases

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Monday, October 20, 2014

Truck-only toll increases approved six years ago will add up for the Illinois Tollway Authority, as the agency plans to spend more on electronic signage and state-of-the-art cameras to track missed tolls and collect money from toll violators.

The Illinois Tollway Authority presented its tentative 2015 budget to finance and operations officials on Oct. 15.

“Revenues are projected to increase from $1.02 billion budgeted in 2014 to $1.17 billion in 2015,
primarily due to a truck toll rate increase previously approved by the Tollway Board in 2008,” Tollway officials announced.

The Illinois Tollway Authority began increasing truck tolls in 2005 to fund improvement projects and technology. Tollway officials renewed the effort in 2008, implementing a 60 percent increase over 2008 levels during the years 2015 through 2017.

The 2015 budget calls for $1.56 billion in capital projects such as widening the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90); building a new Elgin-O’Hare access project that will feature all-electronic tolling; resurfacing of the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88) from Illinois Route 251 to U.S. Route 30; new bridge designs for the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80); and $241 million for roadway, interchange, bridge and other work on the Tollway system.

Spending will go beyond road and bridge repair and maintenance.

“In addition, the 2015 Tentative Budget provides $17 million for state-of-the-art cameras to help ensure accuracy of toll violations, $12.3 million to support the development of an enterprise resource planning system, $2.5 million to implement new color over-the-road dynamic message signs, $1 million for website improvements, $1.2 million to support the agency’s workforce development and technical assistance programs, $900,000 to retrofit lighting at toll plazas, parking lots and other facilities to reduce electrical consumption and $392,000 for additional Illinois State Police construction work zone enforcement details,” according to the Tollway Authority.

The authority operates 286 miles of toll roads in the state.

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