Stateline Truckers React to Increased Tollway Rates

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When Rochelle truck driver Marvin Binkley found out toll rates would more than triple effective January 1, the longtime driver couldn't believe his ears.

"The money is not there. It's just not there. People are paying all they want to pay with high fuel costs, they keep going up. There's only so much you can do," Binkley said.

The new rates will soon cost Binkley's company, Dixon-Meyers Transportation, roughly $5,000 more a week. He believes truckers are taking more of the brunt of an already costly drive.

"The license increase is up to $4,400 to start with in Illinois, and fuel is going up to over $2.00 a gallon, and now the toll road going up 350 percent. I don't see how the average guy can take this much longer," Binkley said.

Illinois tollway leaders argue that the average large truck creates the equivalent road damage as 10,000 cars, but Binkley isn't buying it, pointing out that Illinois trucks carry less road stress than surrounding states.

"Michigan trucks have more weight with 11 axles, and they have the similar weather with hot and cold," Binkley said.

And with imminent toll increases, Binkley's company plans to drive far away from the nearest toll booth or I-Pass, and make his trips on back roads.

"If you tack to the end of the year, it's an awful pile of money. It's going to come down to where we are going to have to run back roads and do a lot of re-planning here," Binkley said.

An Illinois tollway spokesperson told 23 News while truck toll costs are steep in the short-term, long-term, truck drivers will pay six cents less per mile than the national average.