Monday 10 October 2011

Illinois toll increase approved to fund major upgrade

The Illinois Toll Highway Authority has approved the increase in tolls of an average of 88% to help pay for a $12 billion expansion and upgrade programme as reported previously. It will be the first increase in 28 years for those paying with I-Pass (a 915MHz DSRC system). The Authority receive no federal or state funding. Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports:

Toll road officials said the improvements would ease traffic jams, cut air pollution and encourage economic development. They touted the building program as their "cleanest and greenest," with an emphasis on using recycled materials, minimizing waste and improving public transit access on I-90
At the Waukegan Plaza on I-94, the I-PASS rate will jump from 75 cents to $1.40 next year. The cash rate will increase from $1.50 to $1.90 in 2012 and $2.65 in 2015.

For both the Edens Spur Plaza on I-94 and the South Beloit Plaza on I-90, I-PASS rates will rise from 50 cents to 95 cents next year. Cash rates will increase from $1 to $1.25 in 2012 and $1.90 in 2015.

The Daily Herald reports that the average toll would become 6c per mile after the increase, comparing to 3c per mile on the Indiana Toll Road, 4.2c per mile on the Ohio Turnpike, 7.7c per mile on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 9c per mile on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Note how the privatised toll road is the cheapest!   As I said before, what the Illinois Toll Highway Authority is doing is effectively making a deal - you pay more tolls, you get better highways.   It seems so simple, but then with many many years of tolls not increasing, perhaps it is that which has enabled motorists in the state to trust the Authority to spend their tolls wisely.

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