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Illinois Tollway Board Approves 15-Year, $12 Billion Capital Plan

The plan includes a 35-cent toll increase for motorists with an i-Pass starting Jan. 1, 2012. Motorists without an i-Pass will continue to pay double.

Illinois Tollway Board members voted 7-1 Thursday to approve a 15-year, $12 billion capital plan that lays out infrastructure investments through 2026 and raises tolls by 35 cents for I-PASS motorists.

The plan "will provide safer travel conditions and relieve congestion on the Tollway and throughout the region, in addition to creating jobs and stimulating the economy," according to a Tollway release.

Motorists will see a 35 cent toll increase for motorists with an I-PASS, effective Jan. 1, 2012. Since those without an I-PASS pay double, that will be a 70 cent toll increase.

That would bring the average cost of a trip on the Tollway system with an I-PASS to $1.18, up from the current average of 63 cents per trip. It's an increase of $2.75 a week or $11 a month.

The Illinois Tollway is a user-funded system that receives no state or federal tax dollars for maintenance and operations, according to the release.

The plan will also be financed by bonds and a previously approved commercial vehicle increase scheduled to begin in 2015.

About $8 billion of the plan will fund necessary improvements to the existing Tollway System, including:

  • 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

About $4 billion is committed for new projects to enhance mobility, including:

  • Constructing a new interchange at I-294/I-57, as well as the 147th Street ramps
  • Constructing the Elgin O'Hare West Bypass, including completion of the Elgin O'Hare, construction of the West Bypass between I-90 and I-294 and rehabilitation and widening of the existing Elgin O'Hare Expressway
  • Planning for transit on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
  • Planning studies for the Illinois Route 53 Corridor and the Illiana Expressway

The Illinois Tollway held 15 public hearings to garner community input. About 1,900 people attended. The Tollway also collected 1,884 public comments online through Aug. 24, including 1,351 comments supporting the plan, 417 opposing the plan and 116 that can be described as "other."

Benefits (outlined in a Tollway release):

Environmental:

It's pegged as the cleanest and greenest in Illinois Tollway history, incorporating transit opportunities on the system for the first time and recycling, reducing and reusing materials.

Job creation:

The projects will create or sustain 120,000 permanent jobs and add $21 billion to the economy. For every $1 billion of annual construction, more than 13,000 shorter-term construction jobs will be supported over the next decade.

Time, cost savings:

The Elgin O'Hare West Bypass will accommodate three times as many vehicles per day as the local roads carry now and additional capacity on I-90 will accommodate 30,000 more vehicles each day, saving drivers up to 25 minutes on the average trip from Elgin to the Kennedy Expressway.

The new interchange at I-294 and I-57 is expected to save Tri-State Tollway commuters using traveling on I-80 and I-57 approximately 25 hours a year in travel time.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning projects the plans will will reduce vehicle miles traveled in congestion by 1 million miles daily, resulting in savings of more than $775 million annually due to reduced congestion and delays.

Budd Bieber August 26, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Wasn't the tollway supposed to go away back in the late 60"s? Just how much to the directors make a year now?
Oswego mom 2011 August 26, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Exactly Budd. Government just keeps growing on a local, state and federal level. The tollway authority was developed to provide jobs to reward family members and those that tow the party line. I have always wondered about those I pass accounts. I have refused to sign up for one. They require a constant deposit of $40 per Ipass issued and offer you a convenience to "replenish" your account by charging your credit card. Where is that "deposit" money? How much interest do they earn off of that?? What a scam.
Jeri August 26, 2011 at 08:35 PM
I have an ipass but no deposit nor credit card information on file. I bought a transponder (returnable) and then i buy refill cards at jewel or go online and designate a certain amount. Everyone needs to remember everything, get informed and then vote. Too bad there are so many people that do not take the time to understand economy and how decision relate to the whole. Those that do are glad they did. a lot of people like big government to solve their problems instead of them seeing their own potential. It is a slow process but steady. showing these decisions is a great day for conservatism.

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