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Villivalam cautions drivers to be aware of road conditions in summer heat

Published: Thursday, July 09, 2020 01:27 PM

pavement 070920CHICAGO – As temperatures continue to rise, Illinois State Senate Transportation Chair Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging drivers to be cautious of potential pavement buckling on roads due to the hot and humid weather. 

“During the summer we often worry about staying hydrated and reapplying sunscreen,” Villivalam said. “Oftentimes we forget that extreme heat can also cause the road pavement to crack and break which can create dangerous driving conditions.” 

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, pavement failures or blowouts can occur when prolonged high temperatures cause roads to expand and buckle up or blow out, resulting in uneven driving surfaces. Precipitation and humidity can also increase the potential for buckling.

“To ensure road safety this summer, I urge everyone to be cognizant of road conditions and construction workers while traveling and to report any issues immediately,” Villivalam said. 

Pavement failures should be reported to IDOT by calling 800-452-4368 or by calling 911.

Villivalam urges residents to take advantage of new tollway initiative

Published: Wednesday, July 08, 2020 12:36 PM

villivalam 022720CHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to take advantage of a new initiative announced by the Illinois Tollway this summer. TOLLING 2020 is a new tolling reform package that will significantly reduce the costs of unpaid toll fees.

“Thanks to this relief period, motorists who have been unable to pay outstanding fees due to COVID-19 will be able to catch up,” Villivalam said. “I believe customers will save under the new invoice process and violation relief.”  

For the remainder of 2020, the Tollway is reducing all outstanding violations with the Illinois Tollway, and all existing $20 and $50 fines per toll will also be reduced to $3 per toll, providing an opportunity for relief to thousands of motorists. Any unpaid tolls that occurred between March 9 and June 25 during the Stay at Home Order will not incur additional fines or fees.

Here are some important takeaways for customers under this new program:

  • As always, customers can continue to avoid fees completely for at least 14 days by paying online.
  • Vehicle owners who fail to pay a toll will now initially face a notice with a $3 invoice fee for each unpaid toll rather than a notice with a $20 violation fine, an 85% reduction. (Currently, a $20 fine is assessed for each unpaid toll if left unpaid. That penalty escalates by another $50 if the notice remains unpaid for an additional 60 days.)
  • Customers looking to take advantage of the significant reduction in fines can visit the Tollway’s website to review and pay their updated balances through the end of the year, even if they were previously at collections. (No special arrangements are necessary.)
  • Customers with unpaid tolls during the COVID-19 period will receive an invoice for their unpaid tolls only and are able to pay those tolls online as well.

The Illinois Tollway is still operating all-electronic toll collection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so tolls should still be paid online to avoid any fines and fees. Anyone who wants to learn more about the program, or how to pay unpaid tolls and violations, should visit the Illinois Tollway’s website at www.illinoistollway.com

Villivalam Vote-by-mail law will make voting safer and easier

Published: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 02:56 PM

Vote by mailCHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker today signed legislation ensuring that all Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election.

“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues and I worked to find ways to keep people from congregating in enclosed spaces, standing in long lines for hours, or otherwise risking their health in order to exercise their right to vote,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of the measure. “By designating Election Day as a state holiday and creating an expansive vote-by-mail program, it will allow a greater number of people the opportunity to vote without having to worry about missing work or school.”

Under the new law, those who voted within the last two years or registered to vote after the 2020 primary election will be receiving an application for a vote-by-mail ballot. Additionally, it designates Election Day 2020 as a state holiday, allows for drive-by voting, extends early voting, and allows more people to serve as election judges.

People who aren’t automatically sent an application will still be able to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot through the State Board of Elections’ website.

“Allowing people to vote by mail or go in person to vote early are two great options to allow people to maintain a safe physical distance from each other,” Villivalam said. “Participation in the election process shouldn’t be a life or death decision.”

The law, Senate Bill 1863, takes effect immediately.

Villivalam: Voter safety a top priority during pandemic

Published: Friday, May 22, 2020 05:20 PM

Sen. Ram VillivalamCHICAGO – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has chief co-sponsored legislation to ensure that Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election. The new elections safety package – a part of Senate Bill 1863 – will have expanded access to the state’s vote-by-mail program, early voting, and election day voting. 

Sen. Ram Villivalam

Sen. Ram Villivalam

8th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Education; Human Services; Labor; Transportation (Chairperson); Subcommittee on Capital (TR); Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On (Chairperson); Pension Investments Special Com. On.

Associated Representatives:
John C. D'Amico
Yehiel M. Kalish