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posted: 9/6/2012 12:51 PM

Tollway taking scofflaws to court

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  • Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyherald.comHave lots of unpaid tolls? The Illinois tollway could be taking you to court.

      Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyherald.comHave lots of unpaid tolls? The Illinois tollway could be taking you to court.

 
 

See you in court, the Illinois tollway is telling some of its "worst" offenders when it comes to unpaid tolls and fines.

This week, the agency is filing about 50 lawsuits against drivers who have ignored warnings and phone calls about violations and there's more to come.

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Violation notices are triggered after three unpaid tolls occur in a two-year period. The litigation will be instigated in cases where people have received five notices of violations and have been called at least four times and offered settlement options, officials said.

The agency could not pinpoint the threshold of money owed that leads to a lawsuit but said they won't pursue minimal amounts.

"It's not those who owe $60," Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. "These are for people we consider egregious violators ... who keep driving without paying. Ninety-eight percent of our customers are paying their fair share."

About $300 million in unpaid fines and tolls are owed to the agency.

"The vast majority of our customers pay on time and we see this as an obligation to them to collect equally from all customers. Those who pay should not have to pay the way for people who chose not to pay," Lafleur said.

Asked if the agency is considering offering a temporary toll amnesty programs to encourage people to pay up, Lafleur said there are no plans in the works.

"We're open to working something out with people. But don't continue to throw these notices in the trash. Ignoring them won't make it go away. Call us and we'll be happy to work out a settlement," she said.

The litigation is being pursued through a collection service the tollway contracted with and revenues collected should pay for costs related to the cases, the toll authority says.

Drivers with violations who want information about paying or settlements can call the number on the back of their notices or go to http://www.illinoistollway.com/tolls-and-i-pass/violations.

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