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Illinois' tollway

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Last weekend I was in the Chicago area with the family attending a wedding. We took advantage of the occasion and arrived a couple of days early to visit the city and do some sight seeing.

I'd been to Chicago before and hadn't thought much of it. Perhaps being there on business had something to do with it. This time, visiting the city with the family, I was impressed with the town and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wish I could say the same about the road conditions (pavements were horrendous) and their silly toll system. Approaching the toll booths, one can clearly see sings for coin payments and transponder lanes, but where were the collectors? Coinless and befuddled, I just drove through them. Turns out theirs is a pay-as-you-go honor system, but now they have installed cameras to fine deadbeats by snapping photos of their license plates as they drive away.

This is either the dumbest way to collect toll fees, or the slickest scam to collect fines. How is a tourist to know that he is required to carry coins on him? At the least they should allow drivers to swipe a credit card. But no, making life more complicated is what they do best.

Luckily, on my last drive through one the toll lanes, I paused long enough to notice a sign with a phone number for violators to call. It now appears that I have a 5-day grace period to pay the back tolls. How much do I owe? I haven't a clue.

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