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Interstate 90 tolling

Gripes about tollway systems don’t usually include their refusal to take drivers’ money.

That was recent Illinois expat Melvin Senne’s complaint about the Illinois Tollway, though, and it’s not SOS’ place to argue.

Senne, 90, moved to Madison in December from the western Chicago suburb of Bartlett to be closer to family. For about a decade, he’s had two transponders, known as I-PASSes, that allow him to use the tollway’s open-road tolling system.

I-PASSes draw from money set aside by drivers, usually on their credit or debit cards. The problem, Senne said, is that he lost the credit card his I-PASSES were linked to in December or January, and when he got a new one, the tollway repeatedly refused to take it.

“They say they cannot take it because I cannot give them my Illinois driver’s license number,” Senne wrote SOS on Aug. 8. “I do not have it because I shredded it when I received my Wisconsin driver’s license.”

Senne still travels back to Illinois to go to events and see friends. Without a transponder linked to an active credit card, he faced the possibility of having to use the manual toll booths — which charge twice as much for the privilege of paying in cash.

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SOS contacted Illinois Tollway press secretary Joelle McGinnis on Aug. 13. She said the tollway’s reluctance to take a driver’s credit card number was a new one on her, and that she’d look into it.

On Aug. 17, SOS got a phone message from Senne, who said he’d heard from someone with the tollway and his problem was “cured,” although he said in an interview later that the official didn’t share what the problem had been in the first place.

Tollway senior manager of communications Dan Rozek said Senne’s problem stemmed from the tollway’s “strong security requirements in place to protect our customer’s personal information.

“His Illinois drivers license was linked to his I-PASS account, so our representatives needed to confirm that driver’s license number before updating his account with his new credit card and Wisconsin driver’s license,” Rozek said. “Since Mr. Senne had already discarded his Illinois license, we were unable to confirm his identity and update his account.”

With the tollway now satisfied Senne is who he says he is, it’s happy to take his credit card number.

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