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Illinois Tollways go cash-free — permanently

To help low-income drivers adjust to the change, the agency will launch a program in May to waive deposits on I-PASS transponders and add $20 in tolls to people with household incomes up to 250% above the poverty line.

Sun-Times file photo

Tollway drivers can say goodbye to loose change and cash.

The Illinois Tollway said Thursday it will only accept cash-free payment from now on, a move it made permanent after transitioning to touch-free payment last March when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Payments must now be made with I-PASS or E-Zpass transponders, or online, the agency said in a statement. Drivers have a 14-day grace period to pay their tolls until they’re slapped with a $3 fee.

To help low-income drivers adjust to the change, the agency will launch a program in May to waive deposits on I-PASS transponders and add $20 in tolls to people with household incomes up to 250% above the poverty line.

Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez said he hoped the changes would be transparent and ensure the safety of drivers.

“We remain committed to helping the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and these changes will put our agency into a position to continue providing a world-class transportation network that supports the entire regional economy,” Alvarez said.

An Illinois Tollway spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.