I received a letter recently from the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority regarding toll money due.
On Oct. 11, I traveled from Naperville to Painesville, Ohio using the toll roads from Illinois through Ohio. At each stop I paid the toll, and if there was an attendant, I requested a receipt. Unfortunately, Illinois does not have attendants at all toll booths. The letter from the tollway authority in Illinois states that I did not pay three tolls: $1.50, $1.50 and $1.90. The fees were attached ($20 per violation) for a total of $64.90.
Knowing that I had not accidentally or deliberately missed the tolls even though there was a "picture" of my license plate, I decided to request a hearing. I also decided to buy an I-PASS so this does not happen again. But here's the catch: You cannot obtain an I-PASS if there are outstanding violations.
I spoke to a great customer service rep regarding the situation. I explained that the only thing that could have happened was the light did not go from red to green when I tossed in my coins. In addition, I know that if you do go through a toll without paying, you have seven days to go online and take care of the fee. I explained that since I did pay, I would not have thought to go online; this, unfortunately for me, was to no avail. As great as this customer service rep was, there is nothing she can do to waive the fees or tolls.
So regardless of equipment failure or lack of personnel to service the booths, we are at the mercy of this wonderful state of Illinois and its cameras ready to catch the honest, taxpaying citizens doing something right only to prove us wrong.
Laurel K. Wintersteen