Inside the Tollway
Illinois Tollway aims to ensure everyone is able to attain and retain the benefits of I-PASS
The Illinois Tollway today opened enrollment to a significantly enhanced I-PASS Assist program to help customers realize the benefits of I-PASS. The program’s aim is to ensure all Illinois residents are able to both attain, and more importantly retain, the financial benefits of using an I-PASS transponder when traveling on the Illinois Tollway system.
“Communities across Illinois rely on our roads and highways to get from point A to B safely every day, whether they are commuting to work, taking kids to school, or delivering goods and services,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to the new I-PASS Assist program, working families will receive critical financial relief that will remove barriers to access to the I-PASS system and offer all residents equal access to the Illinois Tollway System.”
I-PASS customers save 50% on tolls and have the advantage of easily managing vehicles and travel costs online. As a condition of these benefits, customers are required to fund their accounts prior to incurring tolls, periodically replenish their accounts and maintain a transponder in their vehicle. Often times, economically disadvantaged customers are reluctant to sign up for I-PASS due to the deposit required on transponders as well as the initial minimum prepayment and minimum, ongoing auto-replenishment amounts when account balances become low.
“To complement the improvements made to our system, expanding the current I-PASS Assist program is critical to making sure customers have access to the benefits of I-PASS,” said Illinois Tollway Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Will Evans. “Through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Revenue, the Illinois Tollway is making it easy for customers to determine if they are eligible to join I-PASS Assist.”
“Our team has worked tirelessly on a plan to ensure our system is equitable and fair, and we’re now building on the success of our extensive violation relief efforts to eliminate the challenges many customers face in becoming regular Tollway customers,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “By lowering the initial costs of enrollment and ensuring fees don’t have a disparate impact on working families, we’re building a network of support to ensure all families are able to access the same I-PASS rate that the vast majority of our customers already enjoy.”
Under the enhanced I-PASS Assist Program, the financial requirements associated with an I-PASS have been reduced across the board–for qualifying customers.
- No transponder deposit required (currently $10 deposit)
- Open and fund an account with as little as $4 in initial prepaid tolls (currently $20)
- Automatic account replenishment on low balances, as little as $4 (currently $10 minimum)
In addition, to help income-eligible customers retain the benefits of I-PASS, invoice fees, if any, will be eligible for dismissal through customer service for accounts in good standing. Fee avoidance has been found to be critical to assisting customers keep accounts in good standing.
To promote the program and provide an incentive for enrollment, for a limited time the Illinois Tollway is also offering a financial incentive to new eligible customers who successfully enroll and create an account. The incentive, approved by the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors in April, will come in the form of a gift card of up to $20 to be used at any retail store or grocery chain, certain restrictions apply.
“An expanded I-PASS Assist program is an important step toward making our transportation system more equitable,” said Erin Aleman, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. “When transportation connects people to economic opportunities, jobs and amenities, our entire region prospers.”
To be eligible for enrollment in I-PASS Assist, household income cannot exceed 250% of Federal Poverty Guidelines as verified by the Illinois Department of Revenue. For reference, an individual making $31,900/yr. and a family of four making $65,500/yr. would be eligible to enroll in I-PASS Assist.
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