Tollway vows to speed up violation notices

  • The bad news won't come late any more, now that tollway officials have decided to get fines notices out more quickly.

    The bad news won't come late any more, now that tollway officials have decided to get fines notices out more quickly. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 6/30/2011 4:36 PM

The tollway violation notice you receive in the mail won't be a blast from the past, anymore.

Recognizing a trend of tardy fine notifications for missing three toll payments in a row, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority directors Thursday promised to alert customers within 90 days of the third violation.

 

Old violation notices in the system that are older than 90 days will be discarded, officials said.

"You'll get a notice within 90 days or you won't get it at all," Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said.

Violation notices and late fees are triggered by the third missed toll within a two-year period.

The agency drew heat and upset drivers in 2007 and in 2008 after accumulating a massive backlog of violations. This resulted in users receiving unexpected hefty late fees, totaling thousands of dollars in some cases.

"It's not fair to send a notice 23 months after the third violation," tollway Director Bill Morris said.

At this point, there are $1.8 million in backlogged violation notices dating back to 2003.

The agency also could owe users as much as $700,000 in overpayments and is going over cases individually to see if refunds are due.

The hiccups are occurring in an electronic tolling system the tollway has spent millions of dollars on. Officials are in the process of rebidding the contract but said while that's ongoing, it's important to train staff to understand the complex system so the agency isn't as reliant on the current vendor.

"We need to bring more day-to-day management in-house so we're not beholden to the vendor," Lafleur said.

The agency also has a $1.5 million backlog from the past two years of missed toll transactions mostly from out-of-state drivers that it intends to pursue with new license plate tracking technology.