Not paying tolls could cost you more in the future

The Illinois tollway is considering toughening rules on the number of missed tolls triggering a violation notice and fines.

That move comes on the heels on halving the time it takes to receive a violation notice from two years to one.

For years, the agency had used three missed tolls in two years as the tipping point for drivers to be issued a notice and face fines of $20 per infraction. That policy was changed with little fanfare in 2016 to three missed tolls in one year.

Now, tollway staff is recommending shrinking the policy further so just two violations in one year will initiate a notification.

Previously, it wasn't worth the cost to pursue people with one or two missed transactions, but improved technology means “going after violators who had two violations inside a year will probably net $7 million,” Chief of Staff Kevin Artl said at a Monday Customer Service and Planning Committee meeting.

The proposal will likely be considered today at a tollway board meeting.

Staff members have presented nine changes to how the agency collects tolls and violations, and estimates those could generate $43 million.

One proposal likely to be unpopular involves charging the cash rate for I-PASS account holders who incur tolls without transponders in their vehicles.

That could mean people pay $1.50 instead of 75 cents, for example. The agency now uses video footage of missed tolls to match license plates with I-PASS holders and charges the amount owed to a person's account, but there's a cost associated with that.

“We're going to take a long time to implement the changes,” Artl said.

Staff planners will conduct market research into transponder use that could include giving away free devices.

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