Pa. Turnpike to move closer to eliminating cash

March 6, 2012 10:24 am

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike announced today that it will take the next steps toward an all-electronic toll collection system that eliminates cash.

A yearlong study by a consultant has determined that such a conversion is feasible, but would take at least five years. The turnpike will soon begin the process of hiring a program-management firm to oversee the next phase of the study and potentially assist in a future conversion.

"As the report makes clear, we have a lot of work to do before a final decision can be made, but this is an important step forward -- one we're excited to announce and share with our customers," turnpike CEO Roger Nutt said. "All-electronic tolling is a significant trend in our industry that a number of other agencies have implemented or are considering, and it is important that we thoroughly study such a possible conversion."

Toll roads in at least nine states have all-electronic tolling or are implementing it.

In such a system, most drivers have transponders that send a signal to an overhead gantry when they pass, causing the toll to be automatically deducted from a prepaid account. The system photographs the license plates of those without transponders and generates bills that are sent by mail.

All-electronic collections can be done without having traffic slow down, as is currently done in E-ZPass express lanes at several points on the turnpike system. An all-electronic system would improve safety and reduce travel times, pollution and the cost of collecting tolls, officials said.

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868.
First Published 2012-03-06 09:25:42

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