State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Turnpike mulls all-electronic toll collection

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Sep 4, 2012 9:42 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike is taking steps to make all of its interchanges collect tolls electronically, but how that will affect its human work force is still hard to say.

Spokesman Carl DeFebo says since the Turnpike began using E-Z Pass, it has shed 150 toll collectors by attrition, and roughly 800 toll collectors still work throughout the state. "There are possibly close to 1,000 people who are engaged in other parts of that toll-collection process, whether they be managers overseeing collectors at the interchange, whether they be audit people, whether they be the people who pick up the money from the interchanges," DeFebo says.

The agency still is in the early steps of converting to electronic tolling for the sake of traffic efficiency and cost-cutting, and hasn’t yet finalized an implementation plan. The Turnpike Commission is more than seven billion dollars in debt, due to a state law requiring it to pay millions of dollars annually to support road and bridge maintenance and transit operations.

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