The new chairman of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority is telling people to brace themselves for toll increases needed to pay for improvements to the aging tollway system.
Arthur Philip says the authority may reduce tolls for users of the automatic I-PASS toll collection system, while raising fees at conventional toll booths. Another scenario would be to increase tolls for out-of-state trucks as well as raising the toll from 40 cents to 50 cents for cars.
Philip was appointed chairman by the governor last Friday and will take over Aug. 1.
"It's been over 15 years since there was a toll increase, and there isn't anything that we have bought during that time that hasn't gone up in price," he told the Chicago Tribune, calling a toll increase inevitable.
Tollway critics say the bonds used to build the tollway system in 1955 were paid off years ago, and the 274 miles of tollway should be turned into freeways. But tollway officials say that would mean a huge gasoline-tax increase would be needed to pay for road maintenance.
Philip also says he wants to improve the food and retail businesses at tollway rest stops.