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):
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.
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.