Toll Bridge

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

The cameras just record license plates and never driver faces. So it's rare for someone to get in trouble for not paying the 50-cent toll at Bauer Parkway.

"The State's Attorney has more important things to do than run down people who aren't paying a 50-cent toll," says Winnebago County board member Doug Aurand.

We camped out at this county highway toll bridge during the morning rush hour to learn about driver's toll habits. We learned many ignore the fee and even pretend to drop coins in the change basket.

"We can't let people just drive through maybe it's as simple as putting a gate up there I'd hate to see that but that's what you might need to do," he says.

Aurand says 15-percent of drivers went through the toll without ever paying last month. The county lost nine-thousand dollars because of that. Aurand says he'd rather see it torn down all together.

"Let's eliminate the toll lets make it easier for people to go from west to east and east to west it's gonna help the economy on both sides of the river."

Aurand hopes the county can pay off the remaining 4.5 million dollars in bonds earlier than expected. The original payoff date isn't set until 2012.

The toll was built in the early 90's to help pay for the bridge. It originally cost ten-point-six million dollars. So some think paying nearly half that off in the next budget is very questionable.

The County Engineer says the Sheriff's Department will be stepping up enforcement of the toll during the summer months since more people are traveling to the sports corp. He also says fines could be as much as five-hundred dollars if you're caught not paying the toll.

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