Tag Archives: cash

CASHLESS TOLLING COMES TO ILLINOIS

highway

Do you remember coming home from Wisconsin on the toll road after you had spent a weekend at your cabin or a vacation at the Dells? Just as you entered Illinois on the toll road, you came to a bank of toll booths. Each toll booth had a gate which came down in front of the vehicle. After you paid your toll to the attendant, he would raise the gate and allow your car to pass. Then the toll gate would come down again.

Technology advanced, and the toll gates were eliminated. Instead, you had to stop at an unmanned toll basket and pay your toll. If you put the correct amount of change into the toll basket, a red light would turn green. If you tried to sneak through without putting the correct change into the basket, a camera would take a picture of your license plate. Then you were in BIG TROUBLE. Soon you would receive a ticket from the Illinois Toll Highway Authority. The fine was $20.00 plus the cost of the toll for each violation. If you failed to pay that initial $20.00 fine plus toll, an additional $50.00 fine per violation appeared on your next notice. If you still failed to pay, the penalty escalated to revocation of the vehicle registration.

In 2004, open road tolling was introduced. Drivers with transponders could drive at normal highway speeds under toll collecting equipment instead of stopping to pay tolls. Toll booths were relocated to the side of the road to handle vehicles without transponders. The price for paying cash is twice the transponder price.

Fast forward to 2016. Beginning July 5, 2016, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority will debut the first, all-electronic roadway on its 286 mile tollway system. Illinois Route 390, known as the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project, is a ten mile stretch running between Lake Street on the West and Illinois Route 83 on the East. Cashless tolling is scheduled to begin July 5, 2016 on the western segment from Lake Street to I-290. Cashless tolling on the eastern segment is scheduled to begin in 2017 on the eastern segment from I-290 to Illinois Route 83.

Passenger vehicles with I-PASS will pay $1.90 for traveling the full ten miles. Toll collection equipment mounted over the traffic lanes will read the I-PASS transponder mounted on the windshield and automatically collect the tolls. No toll booths or cash baskets will be available on Illinois Route 390. Drivers without transponders will have a seven day grace period to pay the toll by check or online.

Within the ten mile Illinois Route 390 are six entry and exit points. Passenger vehicles with I-PASS will pay a toll ranging from $0.20 to $0.60 for each section.

For more information, go to www.illinoistollway.com.

—By Karen Centowski

LATE VEHICLE REGISTRATION FINES PRODUCE A NEW CASH COW IN ILLINOIS

Cash Cow

Since the Illinois Secretary of State stopped sending vehicle license plate sticker renewal reminders in October of 2015, many motorists missed the deadline for renewing their vehicle license plate stickers. CapitolFax.com has reported that Illinois motorists paid $1.7 million in late vehicle registration fines for the month of March, 2016. The total Illinois late vehicle registration fines paid in 2016 are up to $6.5 million.

By comparison, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office collected $2.2 million in late vehicle renewal fees during the first three months of 2015. Over 247,000 motorists in Illinois received fines for late vehicle registration renewal in the first three months of 2016, compared with 111,000 motorists in January, February, and March of 2015.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office had stopped sending reminder notices to save $450,000 a month during the budget stalemate in Springfield. However, the result has proved very unpopular with Illinois motorists who see this as a cash cow, something which makes a lot of money for the State of Illinois at the expense of the residents. Illinois legislators have responded to the cries of their constituents by introducing a bill to provide relief.

On April 12, 2016, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 4334, which prohibits the Secretary of State from charging fees to vehicle owners who renew their vehicle registration late due to the Secretary of State’s suspension of mailed renewal notices. In addition, the bill provides that a vehicle owner who receives a ticket for expired vehicle license plates within one month of the expiration date does not have to pay the fine if the plates expired during the period in which the Secretary of State had suspended mailed vehicle registration reminder notices.
House Bill 4334 is now before the Illinois Senate. The bill would take effect upon becoming law. However, it is not retroactive to October of 2015 when the Illinois Secretary of State stopped sending vehicle registration reminder notices.

Meanwhile, set up some system to remind yourself of the time to renew your vehicle sticker. Select a date a month or two in advance of the renewal deadline. Then write this on your calendar, enter it into your Smartphone, put a sticky note on your refrigerator, or tie a string around your finger. Do something to avoid this trap!

—By Karen Centowski

DASH FOR CASH

COULD YOU USE A LITTLE EXTRA MONEY? Did you waste your last dollars playing the multi-million-dollar lottery?  Have you sold your old hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, useless knickknacks, and old clothing at a garage sale just to make a few bucks?  Here’s an idea for you.  Check the Illinois Dash for Cash at https://icash.illinois.gov/.

Illinois Cash
Illinois Cash

The law that created the unclaimed property program was established in the early 1960s as a consumer protection initiative.  Illinois Dash for Cash was formerly called Cash Dash.  It was renamed in 2012.  The state currently has $2.1 billion in cash plus contents from Illinois bank safe deposit boxes to be returned to Illinois residents.  One in eight Illinois residents has an asset to be claimed in Illinois Dash for Cash.  One in four Illinois adults who searches the Illinois State Treasurer’s Illinois Dash for Cash database finds property to claim, and the average claim is $1,000.

The Illinois State Treasurer attempts to return unclaimed or abandoned property to the owners or heirs.  Unclaimed property is money or assets that have been separated from the owner for at least five years.  Often the owner doesn’t know the property exists.  Examples include inactive savings and checking accounts; unpaid wages or commissions; stocks, bonds, and mutual funds; money orders and bill overpayments; paid up life insurance policies; and safe deposit box contents.

The Illinois State Treasurer auctions some of the contents of safe deposit boxes on eBay.  Items for sale include jewelry, coins, baseball cards, and other collectibles.  The money generated by the auction is held for the owners of the property.

Certain items found in safe deposit boxes are not auctioned.  For example, firearms are not auctioned.  Coins with a numismatic value are not auctioned.

If you find your name on the database of unclaimed property, print out a claim form and mail it to the unclaimed property division.  Submit the requested documentation along with your completed claim form to the following:

Illinois State Treasurer’s Office
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 19495
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9495

While you are on the Web site (https://icash.illinois.gov/), look up the names of family members and relatives.  You might be surprised to learn what unclaimed property exists in the name of a deceased family member or relative.  One of my family members died in 1996 at the age of ninety-five.  The will was probated, and all known assets were distributed according to the terms of the will.

Now, twenty years later, three small checks totaling $84.00 were listed on https://icash.illinois.gov/.  The checks were refunds/overpayments from healthcare providers.  A copy of the death certificate was required as documentation.

by Karen Centowski