Skyway’s sky-high tolls

Tolls going up again on infamous bridge.

December 24, 2012

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Chicago Skyway Bridge

At $3.50, the Chicago Skyway is among the most expensive tollways in the nation.

And that’s going to remain true heading into 2013. On Jan. 1, tolls on the north-south bridge will increase by 50 cents for a grand total of $4.

The Skyway can be a speedy route to downtown Chicago coming from Northwest Indiana or vise versa. It’s a popular route for Chicagoans heading to Southwest Michigan, but it’s also used daily for those commuting into the city for work.

“I use that way for work to get to Chicago and I’m outraged,” said Northwest Indiana resident Justin Hauser.

But even if you have either an I-Pass or Indiana’s version called E-Z Pass won’t get you any kind of a discount to access the 8-mile stretch of road that connects to the Indiana Toll Road.

The Indiana Toll Road and the Skyway are run by the same privately-held consortium based in Madrid, Spain. The Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road are operated by the same consortiums of Cintra Infraestructuras, S.A. (Cintra), Macquarie Atlas Roads, and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners.

For almost 50 years, the Skyway was operated and maintained by the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. In January 2005, then Mayor Richard M. Daley pushed a plan to lease the Skyway with a 99-year agreement that gave the City of Chicago a $1.83 billion cash infusion.

SCC is responsible for all operating and maintenance costs of the Skyway but has the right to all toll and concession revenue.

This agreement between SCC and Chicago was the first privatization of an existing toll road anywhere in the United States.