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Chicago Skyway toll now costs over $7

Chicago Skyway toll booth. VXLA/Wikimedia

Drivers using the Chicago Skyway toll bridge are now paying over $7 to travel to Indiana and Illinois.

On January 1, the fee for two-axle vehicles jumped from $6.60 to $7.20 each way for drivers using the 7.8-mile shortcut from Chicago to Indiana. The fees are even higher for drivers of semi-trucks and buses.

This is the second toll increase on the Skyway in a year. Last year on January 1, the toll officials increased the fee from $5.90 to $6.60. The increase reportedly generated a $25-million windfall for Chicago taxpayers under Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

According to the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche in a Sun-Times report in 2022, the Skyway generated $114.3 million in toll revenue in 2021, up from $84.9 million in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

Many Indiana drivers who work in Chicago use the Skyway to commute to the city. Others who live in Gary use I-94 or Indianapolis Boulevard to travel to Chicago.

Built in 1958 as the Calumet Skyway, the Chicago Skyway on the South Side connects drivers to the I-90 expressway. A trip on the Skyway to Gary from Chicago takes drivers around 30 minutes.

Last year, the Chicago Skyway toll bridge was sold for a second time in seven years after it was purchased for $2 billion by the Atlas Arteria Group, an Australian toll operator that owns two-thirds stake in the Skyway.

In 2015, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan reportedly bought the 99-year lease for $2.8 billion. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley authorized the original sale of the 99-year lease as part of deal known as “the Great Chicago Sell-Off.”

The teachers’ pension plan reportedly still has a one-third stake in the Skyway.

The latest ownership change is expected to generate a roughly $25-million windfall for Chicago taxpayers, enough to cut in half Lightfoot’s $42.7 million pre-election property tax increase.

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