Illinois Tollway To Start Violation Notices For Unpaid Tolls
After an overwhelmingly successful amnesty program, a broad expansion of the I-PASS Assist program and completion of complex technological changes required to restructure the Illinois Tollway’s violation enforcement program, the Illinois Tollway reminds customers that unpaid tolls may result in the issuance of violation notices.
“It is important to note that violation notices will only be issued after a long notification process that includes multiple invoices with smaller fees. In addition, we are offering a one-time discount for customers with outstanding invoices, as well as continuing our I-PASS Assist program for those who may be struggling financially and in need of additional relief,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse.
“Moreover, as a result of a pilot program approved by the Tollway Board of Directors, the Illinois Tollway will no longer issue escalated $50 fines. We are proud of these programs and all of the other assistance we are providing our customers. It is our hope that every customer takes advantage of all the ways the Tollway offers to pay tolls and avoid fees.”
Starting in April, customers who have received multiple invoices and reminders for the same unpaid tolls will receive a notice of violation that, if ignored, will result in a $20 fine assessed on each unpaid toll. These fines will be in addition to any previously assessed invoice fees.
As the Tollway begins reinstating violation notices, customers with outstanding initial toll invoices issued between June 1, 2020, and September 30, 2022, will have a six-month hold placed on notices and will be eligible for a discount of up to 50 percent off fees on paid invoices.
Customers with outstanding initial toll invoices issued on or after October 1, 2022, will be issued a Notice of Violation, which may result in an additional $20 fine per toll. However, customers will have an opportunity to dispute violations including via a hearing.
In addition, income-eligible customers who qualify for I-PASS Assist and also establish an I-PASS account may have their fees dismissed.
Since unpaid toll invoicing began in 2020 along with the agency’s transition to cashless tolling, the Illinois Tollway estimates that more than 6 million invoices have gone unpaid, with a troubling trend of repeat non-compliance in a growing number of customers. This includes more than $110 million in unpaid tolls over the past three years.
TOLLING 2020 REFORMS
In March 2020, the Illinois Tollway adopted an invoicing model to reduce the initial impact of unpaid tolls on motorists. Invoices provide a reduction in initial costs associated with unpaid tolls, offering a much lower initial fee of $3 per toll for passenger cars.
The Illinois Tollway also launched its industry-leading Pay By Plate service, now used by over 3 million customers. The Pay By Plate service allows customers to enter their plate and payment information for up to 14 days after travel to avoid paying any fees or fines.
In June 2020, the Tollway began offering an extensive amnesty program, reducing outstanding $20 and $50 fines assessed prior to March 2020 down to $3 per toll. As the most successful amnesty programs in Tollway history, customers received over $130 million in relief, clearing debt for more than 325,000 customers with outstanding violation notices.
In addition, the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors expanded I-PASS Assist, creating meaningful enhancements to a program that enables income-eligible customers to receive the benefits of I-PASS. Households under 250 percent of the federal poverty level are now eligible for free transponders and invoice fee dismissals, ensuring working individuals and families have access to the same cost savings as the Tollway’s 5.3 million existing I-PASS customers.