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Article updated: 1/7/2013 7:46 PM

Are tolls in future for Circle Interchange?

By Marni Pyke

Carpooling or tolls could be a feature of the rebuilt Circle Interchange just west of Chicago's Loop, Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said Monday.

The news came as Schneider talked about future IDOT projects amid a climate of budget uncertainties in a speech before the City Club of Chicago.

The state plans to rebuild the bumper-to-bumper interchange where the Eisenhower, Dan Ryan and Kennedy converge. Construction and engineering will cost around $415 million.

IDOT is considering installing a "managed lane" at the interchange, which means it could either be restricted to cars with more than one person or tolled so that drivers would pay to use it during peak times.

"It's a very congested point and we're thinking about how to make movements better," Schneider said. The state can't toll existing facilities but the rebuilt interchange could be designedto accommodate an additional lane.

Meanwhile funds in Illinois' 2009 capital plan are running out at a time when the flat 19-cent motor fuel tax "no longer supports the investment we need to make in our future," Schneider said.

She noted that Gov. Pat Quinn is trying to drum up support for a new capital plan among legislative leaders. "We're waiting to see how those talks turn out," she said.

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