An Open Letter to the Illinois Tollway Authority:

Published December 19, 2005

Back in 2002, I wrote a letter to the editor standing by you when others were demanding Illinois “get rid of tolls.” When you proposed requiring all Illinois drivers to have an I-PASS, I thought the penalty for not having one was a little harsh, but I agreed with your reasoning that it would make the tollways less congested. When you announced open-road tolls I was ecstatic. But now you’ve gone over the edge and seem to be a little power trip.

What are you thinking?

  • To take away a person’s I-PASS if he or she gets a ticket? What business is that of yours? The tollway authority should have nothing to do with people getting traffic tickets.
  • To “shut down” my account if I don’t properly have my transponder mounted? When did you get the right to look in my car to see what was mounted where? So long as my transponder works, you should not worry if I prefer to keep it in the glove compartment when it’s not needed.
  • To impose a fine of $25.00 if my account hits zero? What happened to a notice of some kind, an email maybe?
  • And finally, if an out-of-town traveler without an I-PASS drops coins outside of the basket, you want to fine them $75 for picking up the coins? This is not second grade–there is no finders keepers, it’s their money!

I understand your need to find and penalize tollway abusers, but your new rules are over the top. The tollway authority is not a dictatorship. Illinois motorists aren’t thrilled with your system now, and these new ideas aren’t going to help. I’d hate to be the tollway representative at the public hearing you’re sure to have with the response to these rules.

Good luck to you. I truly hope you will see the error of your ways.

Nicolette Comerford
Crystal Lake, Illinois