The Illinois Tollway is a revenue bond-financed administrative agency of the State of Illinois. Operations are funded by toll and concession revenues. The Bond Indenture for the Illinois Tollway does not permit free movement along the system. However, the Illinois Tollway offers one of the nation's lowest per-mile toll rates.
- The average toll rate on the Illinois Tollway is 6 cents per mile.
- The typical rate for a passenger vehicle at a manned toll plaza is 75 cents I-PASS/$1.50 cash.
- I-PASS customers pay 50 percent less than customer who pay cash.
Why Tolls are Needed
A promise was made that once the bonds used to build the original 187 miles of the Illinois Tollway were paid off, the roads would become freeways. The promise was well-intentioned, but shortsighted. The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system and receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations, so tolls are necessary to cover the cost of:
- Services: Illinois State Police, H.E.L.P. Truck program, I-PASS customer service
- Maintenance: snow plowing, road maintenance
- Construction: reconstruction of the Tollway system and any new roads
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a "free" road. Without the Illinois Tollway, the state would need to raise the gas tax by about 9 cents a gallon statewide to pay for maintenance and operation of existing Tollway roads – or 11-12 cents a gallon if the tax was only applied to the Tollway's 12-county service area. To fund the infrastructure improvements included in this capital plan, the state would need to raise the gas tax by more than 20 cents a gallon.
I-PASS and E-ZPass customers can use any lane on the system. Cash customers must stay alert and follow the advance signage to ensure they use the proper lanes.
- Manned toll plazas
- Advance signage notifies drivers that a toll collection point is ahead.
- I-PASS customers continue driving on the mainline and use the open road tolling lanes.
- Cash customers merge right to pay at the plaza tollbooths.
- Toll collectors cannot accept bills larger than $50.
- Toll receipts are issued upon request.
- Ramp plazas
- Lane configurations at ramp plazas are determined by traffic studies. The I-PASS lane designation is based on the most popular direction of travel at that location.
- Cash customers must pay close attention to the advance signage when approaching a toll plaza.
- Ramp plazas are unattended so cash customers must use exact change to pay their tolls. Any combination of U.S. coins, including pennies, is accepted. Bills are not accepted.
- I-PASS users must obey the stop signs posted in the basket/coin lanes.
- Unpaid Tolls
Video surveillance cameras are located at all plazas to record toll violations.
- Failure to pay a toll risks an immediate $75 moving violation ticket issued on-site by State Police.
- Failure to pay may also result in a Notice of Toll Violation issued by the Illinois Tollway.
- A $20 fee is charged in addition to the cost of the toll.
- Those who do not follow the due process outlined in the Notice of Toll Violation could eventually face the loss of their license plate or driver's license through the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.