Online Staff Report
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Thursday, Sept. 19, the Illinois Tollway Customer Services Committee recommended approval of a $9 million, three-year renewal of the agency’s contract for license plate image review services with the not-for-profit Bridgeway Training Services.
The agreement provides for the continuation of jobs in Rockford and Galesburg, Ill., through 2016, including employment opportunities for people with disabilities and veterans. In addition, the new contract secures violation image review services for nearly $1 million less than the previous three-year agreement.
“The Illinois Tollway is committed to finding ways to hold the line on operational costs and, at the same time, keep jobs in Illinois,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “In addition, our board of directors continues to support outreach to not-for-profit organizations and provide quality employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and veterans.”
Renewing the image review services is critical to the successful operation of the Illinois Tollway’s violation enforcement system and, consequently, violation revenue recovery. Revenue from violation recovery totaled $44.5 million in 2012.
Under the renewed contract, Bridgeway is responsible for reviewing approximately 48 million license plate images annually as part of the Illinois Tollway’s toll violation enforcement system. Bridgeway has provided image review services for the Illinois Tollway since January 2011. Altogether, 44 people are employed at both facilities and more than half are veterans/military personnel and people with disabilities.
This contract renewal continues the Tollway’s goal to increase opportunity for small businesses to work with the agency and, at the same time, engage the services of Illinois not-for-profit organizations providing employment for underserved communities, people with disabilities and veterans.
The Bridgeway agreement is one of four contracts for I-PASS and toll violation enforcement services that the Tollway committed to bidding out through Illinois’ State Use Program, which is designed to provide long-term employment opportunities for people working in not-for-profit community rehabilitation facilities.
In addition, the Tollway has a contract with The Chicago Lighthouse to manage the Tollway’s Customer Call Center, a contract with Chicago-based Ada S. McKinley Community Services Inc. to provide transponder fulfillment services, as well as a contract with The Printers Mark, a subsidiary of Transitions Mental Health Services in Rock Island, Ill., to print and mail violation notices and related correspondence.
The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors is expected to vote to approve this contract renewal at its Sept. 26 meeting.
The Illinois Tollway’s Customer Service Committee also recommended allowing customers more time to pay their violation notices in an effort to better serve the needs of Tollway customers. The new deadlines would give customers 30 days to respond to each of the three violation notice deadlines, giving customers a total of 90 days to pay their violations after receiving the initial notice of violation and before the violations are sent to a collection agency.
“We know that receiving a toll violation is unpleasant, at best, so this new rule change will provide our customers with more time to take care of toll violations,” said Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “Our customers deserve a simple, fair and more consistent timeline to pay their violation notices.”
The Tollway provides customers who mistakenly miss tolls a seven-day grace period to make payments online or by mail. Any unpaid tolls become violations after this grace period. Once three violations occur within a rolling two-year period, a violation notice is issued.
Currently, Tollway customers have a total of 56 days to pay their violation notices. Tollway customers who receive a violation notice have 21 days to pay the unpaid tolls plus $20 per violation or contest the violation. Failure to pay within that time results in a second notice with 14 days to pay and a warning that additional fines of $50 per violation will occur if the tolls and fines aren’t paid in full. Customers who receive a third notice have 21 days to pay, plus a $50 fine per violation. The third notice also includes a warning of additional penalties, including suspension of a driver’s license and vehicle license plate, as well as referral to a collection agency.
The new timeline is expected to go into effect by the end of the year. It must first be approved by the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors, which is expected to vote to approve this rule change at its meeting Sept. 26. It is then submitted to the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for final approval.
Posted Sept. 19, 2013