Moylan: Tolls for cars with trailers are 'highway robbery'
Passenger cars towing trailers are getting hit with excessive tolls, state Rep. Marty Moylan says, and he has filed legislation to lower rates the Illinois tollway charges.
The issue hits home for the Des Plaines Democrat and some of his constituents who haul ATVs and snowmobiles when vacationing, as well as small businesses such as landscapers, he said. His legislation calls for reducing tolls for towed trailers and medium trucks.
"It's ridiculous," Moylan said. "This issue is very important to myself and residents that I have received numerous complaints from."
The tollway has said it needs to charge heavier vehicles more because they cause more damage to pavement.
The tollway "is discussing with Rep. Moylan our policies for tolling personal vehicles with multiple axles, such as those towing small trailers," spokesman Dan Rozek said.
"We will review how other agencies assess tolls on multi-axle personal vehicles and also will look at standard industry practices for these types of vehicles."
A passenger car pulling a trailer with three or more axles is charged the same rate as a large truck with five axles by the tollway. With an I-PASS, that comes to $12.20 at the Waukegan toll plaza in the daytime, compared to $1.40 for a passenger car.
A medium truck with three to four axles or a passenger vehicle towing a trailer with one to two axles would pay $6.95 at the Waukegan plaza.
So far the bill has picked up Democratic and Republican sponsors.
Moylan owns a residence in Wisconsin and uses a trailer to haul snowmobiles or riding lawn mowers.
"If you want to use the tollway system, charge a rate, but it should be a reasonable rate," Moylan said. "They may be an independent agency but they are answerable to the state (legislature)."
To travel between Wisconsin and Indiana on the Tri-State costs a passenger vehicle with I-PASS $4.40, but if the driver's hauling a small trailer the total is $21.55, or nearly 400 percent more.
A rough comparison under similar conditions shows a passenger vehicle on the Indiana Toll Road between Illinois and Ohio would pay $10.70 while a car and trailer would pay $15.80 -- nearly 50 percent more.
On the Ohio Turnpike, a passenger vehicle traveling between Indiana and Pennsylvania would pay $12.75 and while a car and trailer would pay $22.75 or nearly 80 percent more.
The tollway has estimated that a large, fully loaded truck can cause as much road damage as 10,000 cars.