Pending Kane County Longmeadow contract locks in toll bridge discounts
The opening of the Longmeadow Parkway toll bridge inched forward Tuesday as a Kane County Board committee gave preliminary approval to a multimillion-dollar contract that locks in two discount programs for frequent users.
Even with the discounts, board representatives from the area where the tollway will be located are still not pleased with the project.
The board's transportation committee voted to give a $7.8 million contract to Texas-based Electronic Transactions Consultants Corp. The company, whose primary owners are based in Italy, would oversee the discount program and manage customer accounts and communication.
The contract is a six-year deal with possible extensions that could see it last up to 10 years. The $7.8 million reflects the full 10-year cost of the pending agreement.
Tolls for most cars will be 95 cents per trip on the bridge over the Fox River. It's the only bridge over the river in the county that would charge a toll.
Frequent users of the Longmeadow Parkway toll bridge can take advantage of one of two discount programs, depending on where they live.
Kane County and Algonquin residents can buy a one-year pass with unlimited trips for $200. That pass pays for itself for any resident who makes at least two round trips per week, according to Assistant Director of Transportation Steve Coffinbargar.
Board member Chris Kious, who lives in Algonquin, said the toll is an unfair price for his neighbors no matter what the cost.
"It will cost me an extra $200 a year to drive across my village, whereas the rest of the county road doesn't have a toll for maintenance or going across the river," Kious said. "It's not ridiculous for us to complain that we are being singled out."
Kious and board member Jarett Sanchez voted against the contract.
People who don't live in Kane County or Algonquin but still plan to use the Longmeadow Parkway can purchase an annual pass for $300. Coffinbargar said that pass pays for itself in savings if someone makes at least three round trips per week.
Kane County also recently joined the regional E-Z Pass Group, a conglomerate of electronic toll collection programs in 18 states. The benefit of membership, Coffinbargar said, is not having to coordinate with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
"This allows us to create our own rules, which are better suited for our single toll bridge," Coffinbargar said. "It gives us a lot more freedom and flexibility to design a system better suited to us."
The Longmeadow Parkway is expected to open in early 2022.
Bridge: Two board members still don't like deal