Come January 1, drivers who frequent the Illinois Tollway system will begin paying at least 35 cents more at each toll plaza, for I-Pass users—70 cents more for those who still pay with cash.
The Illinois Tollway Board voted Thursday to approve a $12 billion capital plan, which will be financed by bonds backed by a toll rate increase for vehicles using the Tollway. The board voted 7-1 in favor of the increase, according to a news release from the Illinois Tollway.
The Illinois Tollways said that the funds would be used to finance capital road projects including the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass.
“We are confident that the vast majority of customers and communities we serve stand behind us in support of this 15-year investment in the Illinois Tollway’s future,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in a news release. “Now is the time to move forward with these critical infrastructure improvements to provide congestion relief on the Tollway and coordination with the other transportation and transit agencies to do something new and innovative with an eye to the region's future transportation needs.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that since Aug. 18 the Illinois Tollway Board has held public hearings on the proposal throughout the area, but those meetings mostly drew supporters and those in the construction industry who would benefit from the road projects.
The cost of a trip on the Tollway system for the average I-Pass driver would increase to $1.18, up from today’s average of 63 cents per trip and an increase of $2.75 a week or $11 a month, according to the Tollway. After the increase, the Illinois Tollway will rank 29 among all 41 toll road agencies in the U.S. in terms of price – still in the bottom third and an average of just 6 cents per mile.
The 15-year, $12 billion capital plan approved by the Board includes $8.32 billion to fund necessary improvements to the existing Tollway System.
Projects slated for completion under the capital plan include:
- Reconstructing and widening the 52-year-old Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) from the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to Rockford
- Reconstructing more than 20 miles of the central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and the Edens Spur (I-94)
- Preserving the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
- Preserving the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
- Repairing roads, bridges and maintenance facilities
- Other capital projects, including local interchanges
Read more about the toll increase in a story from .